It is the story of Srey Kheng, a Cambodian girl suffering from a heart disease. She was born in the Samrong district, about 40 km away from the capital. She was raised by her parents who lived from rice farming and livestock rearing in a small village. Her older brother and her went to school like any other child of their age.
However, Srey Kheng is not like any other child. She suffers from what is called the “blue baby syndrome” in medical jargon. On her birthday in January 2009, she came to life without any word coming from her small mouth and she was blue-coloured, which is symptomatic of a congenital heart defect. But her parents were not aware of that yet. She is hospitalised at the Khanta Bhopa paediatric Hospital in 2012. She is diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot, a heart defect connecting the two ventricles and blood abnormally circulating towards her lungs and organs. Open-heart surgery is required to save her life, but due to insufficient financial resources, her parents are not in a position to accept the surgery that would save their daughter.
Until 2016, when Srey Kheng crosses path with La Chaîne de l’Espoir. The little girl will be able to get surgery at the Cardiology Department of Calmette Hospital and stay at the cardiac Children’s Pavilion, and her parents will not have to pay anything for her treatment. The cardiac Children’s Pavilion was built in 2003 by La Chaîne de l’Espoir to host poor cardiac children receiving surgery in the Cardiology Department.
Srey Kheng is safe. The Cambodian surgeons, who have been trained for more than 15 years by La Chaîne de l’Espoir, will be able to close the opening between the two ventricles and thus give her back her original skin colour as well as her future.
Thanks to the Cambodian teams at Calmette Hospital and at the Cardiac Children’s Pavilion and to the involvement of all, Srey Kheng will hopefully celebrate her 8th birthday in January 2017. Many thanks to all of you !