Patient finds family and healing after tragedy
In January 2008, when she was 11 years old, tragedy struck Wushuang – her friends call her Wu – and her family. Their house in Fuyang, a city in the Anhui province of China, caught fire. “I was curled up in a ball, screaming as the fire was surrounding me. I remember being covered by something,” said Wu. “Later, as I was thinking about that day, I realized that it was my mom who covered me with her body. She sacrificed her own life to save mine.” Wu had burns over 80 percent of her body and spent the next several months in a Chinese hospital, undergoing multiple surgeries. Her father was told not to expect his daughter to survive. But he did not give up hope, and in July 2008, Wu was brought to Shriners Hospitals for Children® — Cincinnati for lifesaving treatment.
Traveling to treatment
Wu traveled to America alone, scared and not knowing a single word of English. As she began her eight years of treatment, and endured numerous surgeries at the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, she learned her first English word: pain. “Those first few months were the worst,” said Wu. Wu stayed with a host family during her time in the U.S. Over the years, she formed relationships with several families, friends and a special group of moms in her Batesville, Ind., community. She managed to attend high school, master the English language and graduate with honors, all while continuing treatment, including surgeries, at the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital. During her treatment, Wu traveled back and forth to China four times. She carried with her not only the emotional sadness of losing her mother, but also the heavy burden of many physical limitations and disabilities due to her burn injuries.
Looking to the future
Wu, currently 19 years old, sees life in a totally different way now. “I’m unique, which corresponds with the meaning of my name – Wushuang – one and only, unparalleled,” she said. Wu’s dream is to have a career in the medical field and help others who are struggling. She says it is her way of honoring the memory of her mother and the many health care professionals who have cared for her over the years. She is well on her way to achieving that dream. Wu has received a student visa and has been accepted by Marian University in Indianapolis, Ind. With scholarships and other assistance, Wu has more than half the funds needed to attend Marian University. Her amazing surrogate moms are fundraising for her and started a YouCaring crowdfunding page to help her fulfill her dream.After years of treatment at the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, Wu is now looking forward to college and a career in the medical field.