Jing started life in a rural village in southwest China. Although the massive industrial city of Chongqing is only 60 miles away, in Jing’s village there was no central electricity and no modern plumbing. Her mother cooked meals over an open fire.
When she was 16 months old, Jing fell into the cooking fire, causing third-degree burns over 12% of her little body. She lost an ear and three fingers and was burned on her face, neck, and hand.
Her father took her to a Chongqing hospital for treatment. Jing endured three surgeries by age two, but it became clear she would need much more care.
Jing’s story attracted media coverage, which caught the attention of a local mothers group. The women started a blog to raise money and support for Jing. They became invested in her treatment, wanting the best care possible. Online research led them to Shriners Hospital for Children—Cincinnati, where it was clear she could get the comprehensive treatment she required. The “Blog Moms” made arrangements with a local foundation to send Jing to Cincinnati Shiners Hospital. ing’s parents agreed, understanding it would be her best chance to thrive and live a normal life.
In Cincinnati, plans went into motion to arrange care for Jing while in treatment. Laura, a busy mom of three, learned from a friend that the hospital was seeking a host family for Jing while she was in treatment. Laura’s 9-year-old son Eric overheard the conversation and chimed in, “We can do it, Mom!” That was all Laura needed to hear; Jing now had a Cincinnati family.
Jing arrived at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital in September of 2012, one week after her 2nd birthday. Her injuries and complications from initial treatment were challenging. She had airway obstruction which made it difficult to stay asleep for longer than 90 minutes at a time. The fire caused lost vision in one eye, and the Chongqing physicians had fused the eyelid. Jing’s mouth was so contracted from scar tissue that she could only consume bottles of formula.
Over the next year, Cincinnati Shriners Hospital Dr. Kevin Yakuboff FACS FAAPS, surgically released Jing’s mouth and neck, which allowed her to enjoy solid food. (Laura recalls that meatballs were a favorite!) Dr. Yakuboff also corrected her eyelid for a more symmetric, balanced appearance. By her third birthday, Dr. Christopher Gordon FACS FAAP surgically altered her jaw, a major advancement which opened her airways and allowed her to sleep through the night for the first time.
Throughout treatment at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, Laura kept the Blog Moms updated so they could communicate with Jing’s parents. It eventually became clear Jing needed to stay in Cincinnati permanently. Jing had become a part of Laura’s family, so much so they decided to officially adopt her. “She’s a joy—I wake up looking forward to seeing her,” said Laura of Jing, who started kindergarten in August.