The Xia Family

The Xia Family

When a child is seriously ill, their parents will do everything possible to help them, even if it means leaving their small town in China to come to Houston, Texas for treatment.


Three year old Ziyang (Sunny) became ill with what looked like an intestinal virus in June 2015. When the IV drip did not stop the dehydration and nausea, his parents, Yuanjing and Liang Xia, took him to another local hospital for a CT scan where they found a tumor on this brain stem. They took a five hour high-speed train ride from their hometown to Beijing hospital, the best in the country, to have an expert evaluate the tumor. The doctors determined that Sunny needed surgery because the tumor was on the part of the brain stem that controls breathing and heartbeat.


The radiologist strongly recommended they travel to Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) in Houston for treatment. With the help of the internet, Liang’s cousin connected with a friend who works at MD Anderson. It was this radiologist who helped them get in touch with the TCH International Patient department.


Suddenly, the reality hit. They did not have international insurance and they would need cash (over $100,000) to pay for the surgery. “We can earn the money back later,” said Sunny’s mom, Yuanjing. “If the boy is going to have a future, he needs to live. This is our only child and we do not want to lose him.”


Yuanjing and Liang borrowed money from friends and family. Colleagues donated to their cause. Then, they sold their home. “We had a lot of people behind us,” said Yuanjing. And because they had never traveled abroad, they also needed a visa.


The family finally arrived at Ronald McDonald House (RMH) Houston on August 18, and the surgery was two days later. “It was a miracle,” said Yuanjing, “the tumor was benign.” Now less than three months later, Sunny is running around and happy! To express their joy, gratitude and appreciation, the Xia family gave the RMH Houston family a lucky boy doll. It was hand-crafted in their hometown and the symbols on the front mean “lucky” – they hope he brings good luck to the other boys and girls staying at the House.

Lucky baby doll from the Xia family

“We knew we would do anything to help him because he brings us so much happiness. How could we risk losing him?” said Yuanjing. The Xia family returned to their hometown in China and are living life with their healthy baby boy.


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