Meet the Zhang family. The Zhangs are from Ya’an, a city in Western Sichuan four hours away from Chengdu. Last week the Zhang’s brought their only son to Chengdu because he was in need of a heart operation. I met Zhang Xiang only five days after his operation and was pleasantly surprised how energetic the five year old was.
Heart surgery in China costs on average RMB 30,000.00 (USD 4,615.38) which is agonizingly expensive for the average Sichuan family whose GDP per capita in 2010 was only RMB 21,013.00 (USD 3,104.00).
Fortunately for families in the Zhang’s situation there is Hopeful Hearts. Hopeful Hearts is a non-profit organization that helps to raise money for families unable to pay for their child’s operation. The charity host a variety of events and fundraisers to raise money and, for a second year in a row, they joined with the Chengdu Panda Hash House Harriers for our third annual Red Dress Run. You can find more information about the origins here.
This year the Pandas ran around the southern part of town, through housing complexes, three wet markets, and just about every back road possible. Dressed in our Sunday best, or in my case the worst, the hash turned heads and raised eye brows as people watched as 70 people ran or walked down the back streets.
At the end of the day the Chengdu community, the hash, and all of our sponsors successfully raised RMB 22,351.oo for Hopeful Hearts. Even though this money did not go directly towards the Zhang Xiang’s surgery it will be available for the next kid.