Some days, Winarsih can’t help stopping her chores to watch her daughter, Vita. She watches as Vita rides her pink bicycle in wobbly circles in front of their house. Watches as Vita works on an art project, her brow furrowed in concentration.
Winarsih has the watchful eyes of a mother, though. She notices that Vita’s skin is darker. That her elbows are sharp against her skin. That she pedals the bike a little slower than normal. All signs that another visit to the hospital is in their future.
When Vita was 3, she was adopted by Winarsih and her husband, Waryanto. Vita’s parents had died, and her grandmother was unable to care for the child. Winarsih also lived close to the Marsudi Utomo Child Development Center, so the couple quickly enrolled Vita there.
For the first few years, Vita seemed to thrive. She actively participated in activities at the center, and her parents enrolled her in school. But as Vita grew older and taller, they noticed that she was not gaining weight. By the time she was 9 she weighed just 35 pounds — the average weight of a 6-year-old girl. She woke up every night drenched in sweat and grew tired easily during the day. As Vita’s health grew worse, so did her performance in school.
During her regular medical checkup, a doctor recommended blood work. Vita tested positive for beta thalassemia major — a genetic disease that prevents her body from producing enough red blood cells. This lack of red blood cells means that Vita’s body will grow weaker and weaker, preventing her from growing properly.
Vita’s condition requires that she receive regular blood transfusions — usually one every three months. Each transfusion can cost several months’ wages, but Vita’s medical costs are covered through Compassion. When Winarsih sees those telltale symptoms — the darkening skin and increased tiredness — she knows that she simply needs to contact Compassion and make an appointment for her daughter. At each transfusion, Vita’s parents drive her the two hours to the hospital, and they often sleep in the hall while she undergoes the painful procedure.
But it’s worth it. It’s worth the pain and the hours of travel to see little Vita smiling and laughing as she rides her bike in lazy circles.
“When I heard about Vita’s clinical conditions, I knew that God will never leave me nor Vita,” says her father, Waryanto. “[Compassion] is one of God’s intervention for me to see that He never leave His beloved people. I believe that God is running to help Vita.”