Wine is a three-year-old boy who lives with his parents and siblings in Karen State - an area of Burma that is in a state of crisis and conflict. Wine’s father is a construction day laborer and his mother stays at home with Wine and his siblings. Wine’s older brother lives in Bangkok and his sister lives in Shan State and is able to send Wine’s household money every month. His other four siblings are students.
Wine was born in 2019 with a condition called hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is caused by a brain malformation or birth defect that causes excessive cerebrospinal fluid to accumulate in brain cavities. Cerebrospinal fluid is a clear, colorless liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, protecting them from injury. It carries nutrients to the brain and spinal cord and takes away waste. In a healthy person, the amount of this fluid produced by the brain is absorbed by the body. In hydrocephalus, the fluid fails to drain and accumulates, leading to pressure on the brain.
Wine’s symptoms include a lump on the bridge of his nose. His eyes frequently water, and he cries a lot when he is in severe pain. Additionally, his head is gradually increasing in size as the fluid continues to build.
The condition is most often treated by inserting a shunt. The shunt diverts excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the brain to another part of the body where the fluid can be reabsorbed.
Wine visited a doctor when he was born to address the issue. While he was in the process of receiving treatment across the border at a hospital in Thailand, the Thai-Burma border shut down due to the outbreak of COVID-19. With the closure of the Thai-Burma border, Wine and his family could not go back to his follow-up care.
Fortunately, after the Thai-Burma border reopened, Wine was able to meet with our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Wine received a CT scan at Mae Sot General Hospital and the doctor was able to diagnose the issue and scheduled Wine to undergo surgery immediately on June 2nd. BCMF is now requesting $1,500 to help fund this procedure.
Wine’s mother said, “I want him to be able to walk, sit, and be healthy like other children his age. My husband and two of my children work, so I can take good care of Wine. I cry a lot whenever I see Wine suffering from pain, but now I feel like I no longer have to shed a tear for him because of that. I don’t want to be rich, nor do I want him to be rich. I only want Wine to be healthy and happy.”