UPDATE (24 July, 2017)
On 17 July, eight-month-old Ya Qi went for her second surgery to repair her palate. Her mum wasn't able to reply my messages until yesterday as she's been too busy looking after the trooper since the operation.
This procedure seemed to be harder on poor Ya Qi. Her mum told me the poor girl wasn't able to eat or drink much, and sleep for three days post-surgery. To make matters worse, she had a high fever for another three days after that. The painkiller prescribed did little to lessen the pain and discomfort, keeping her up at night. All her mum could do was to keep cuddling her little one to console her.
Ya Qi in pain a few hours after her second surgery to repair her palate.
Day 5, post surgery. These are dissolvable stitches that were used to repair her palate.
A week has since passed and we're glad that Ya Qi is feeling better and can drink milk from a bottle again. According to her doctor, she will need time to heal before she can develop and train her muscles so she can drink liquids without any dribbling out of her nose.
The great news is that she won't need a second palate repair operation, and in six months, she can begin speech therapy. We're really happy to see Ya Qi growing up.
Beautiful Ya Qi at 9 months 2 days.
Her family thanks everyone again for all their well wishes, encouraging words and kind support! Do help share this link and donate if you can. No amount is too small. Look at how far this brave young girl has come! We're so proud of you, Ya Qi! And to her mum, you're doing such an incredible job!
UPDATE (3 March, 2017)
Ya Qi's mum sent me these two pictures over the weekend. Less than a month after her first cleft lip surgery, the cutie has healed wonderfully and loves showing off her cheeky smile. Her mum is happy to report that Ya Qi isn't in pain anymore and is back to her playful self. She'll be visiting her doctor in 3 months' and he'll advise on the next step according to her development. Ya Qi's mum would like to sincerely thank everyone who donated so generously and shared her daughter's story.
If you've not seen this, please spare a few minutes reading her story. Ya Qi and her family would be grateful if you help by kindly sharing this link or donating. Every effort and amount counts. Thank you!
Ya Qi now, 5.5 months old
Help fund Ya Qi's cleft palate surgeries
This is 4-month-old Chan Ya Qi, my mum-in-law's great-grandniece from Kuala Lumpur. She was born with a bilateral cleft lip, and will require multiple surgeries to correct it until she's 18. She doesn't have a palate, which means the simple action of sucking from a milk bottle isn't possible. Only her mum and nanny know how to feed her with a special cleft lip feeding bottle, which needs a lot of care and patience as Ya Qi can choke if the milk flow is too much or fast.
Beyond lip repair, Ya Qi will also have to undergo additonal procedures and therapies for orthodontics, dental, speech, and possibly hearing issues (her mum tells me that the child's hearing is sometimes affected by cleft palate surgeries).
The little trooper went for primary closure of her cleft lip surgery on 9 March, the first of many reconstructive procedures. While Ya Qi is healing well, her mum tells me she cries a lot, mainly from pain from the wound and frustration because she also has arm splints on to prevent her from touching her lip. Her next surgery is slated for when she's between 9 and 12 months to repair the cleft palate.
You might notice Ya Qi in a brace in a few pictures. It's a Pavlik Harness used to treat infant hip displasia by gently positioning her hips so that they're aligned and secure in the joint. Her mum is happy to report that the latest ultrasound showed her hips to be fine. Because Ya Qi is too young, her orthopaedic doctor can only confirm the result when she has her first X-ray after she's 6 months' old. But for now, the harness is off and the family is delighted with the preliminary news.
I'm appealing for donations to cover her procedures and parents' expenses for her day nanny, which costs RM$1,000 per month because she's a special needs child (Ya Qi's mum takes the night shift when she comes home from work). It's estimated that her parents require at least RM$100,000 to cover all her medical and daily needs until she's 18. The costs will take a toll on the family's already stretched finances and I hope to raise SGD$25,000 for to help with Ya Qi's surgeries and nanny costs.
I will be collecting the funds on the family's behalf and will transfer the money to them when the fundraising effort is over. I'll provide an update when I do so. Her family is grateful for any help, big or small, and thanks everyone in advance for their kind generosity. I hope you find it in your hearts to help Ya Qi's long road to leading a normal life.
Sincere thanks, love, light and peace to everyone.
Ya Qi's pre- and post-surgery pictures
This is strapping, a pre-surgical therapy to bring the edges of the cleft lip closer together. Ya Qi wore this a few hours a day for 2 months. And she's wearing the Pavlik harness here which helped to gently align her hip joint to correct the infant hip displasia.
After 2 months of strapping, her lip edges have come closer together.
Ya Qi's mum cradling her after her first cleft lip operation on 9 March.
Less than 10 days after surgery, Ya Qi is healing very well but isn't too happy with the pain and frustration of the arm splints that stop her from touching her lip. It takes quite a while for Mum and the nanny to calm her down. But we're glad she's progressing so well.