Hosanna’s Story

Site created on August 7, 2019


                                                  Here is a short version of our story.... And if you would like to help with the costs for transplant more please click on the
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While living in China we became involved in the life of a very frail 13 month old baby girl.  Saving her life became our focus. Today she is our 14 year old adopted daughter Hosanna. Now we are working towards getting her a life changing bone-marrow transplant.  

This site was started in 2019  but unfortunately due to COVID the original time planned for Hosanna's  transplant was postponed. We didn't want to lose the title, "Hosanna's Hope" so we decided to keep the account open.   We  are now beginning  this medical blog and will use it for updates on this journey. We appreciate your support and words of hope.

     Our names are Greg & Cathy Crowell, we are the proud parents of five children; four adults and one precious adopted, 14 year old daughter named Hosanna. We also have 12 wonderful grandchildren, 9 boys and 3 girls. 
    As a couple, we were very drawn to China and it’s people, having a desire to not merely visit there, but immerse ourselves in it’s language and culture and if possible, make an impact for good. Little did we know that our desire would be fulfilled- but that we would be the ones changed for good!
     It was in 2004 as “empty nesters” we made a radical decision, packed up everything and moved to China. We worked on language study and relationship building. But in May, 2007, our lives really changed!
      We had just moved to a new location in China where we hoped to do some humanitarian work. I (Cathy) was trudging up 4 flights of stairs to our apartment with an armload of groceries when my cellphone rang. It was an urgent call from a friend involved in orphan care. She was at the local orphanage and said “Cathy, there is a little girl dying here. Would you and Greg be willing to bring her into your home and care for her until she passes?” We were unprepared for what awaited us at the orphanage. Our little Hosanna was already 13 months old but weighed less than 8lbs.   She was incredibly weak and severely malnourished. Our immediate thought was, “She just needs food!” We brought her home and spent the next 10 days trying to get her to eat.  But then a stranger at the local market commented that Hosanna was very yellow. We hadn’t noticed the gradual change ourselves, and immediately contacted Dr. Katherine, a pediatrician friend in another city.  She suggested that I bring Hosanna to her. After an initial assessment she noticed that Hosanna’s breathing was labored, her organs were enlarged and her heart was working incredibly hard. She turned to me and gravely said, “We need to take Hosanna to the hospital, I don't know if she will live through the night”. At the hospital they did blood work. Her red blood cell count was dangerously low and Hosanna was given a blood transfusion. It was absolutely miraculous how she responded. Her little body was literally infused with life!
     Only a few weeks later through the help of Dr. Poon, a hematologist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, we were connected with a hematologist in China who tested Hosanna and found out that she has a genetic blood condition called Beta Thalassemia Major, She would need regular blood transfusions her entire life just in order to live.
     Our purpose in China now became two fold. We still desired to make a difference, but our lives had become intertwined with this precious little girl’s so a new direction emerged. Caring for Hosanna was now our primary focus. We began learning how to navigate Chinese hospitals, medical procedures and blood banks all very different from what we knew.
     Greg and I often wondered about Hosanna's biological family, she had only been at the orphanage only a short time and undoubtedly her biological family had tried everything to help her but we believe they knew her only hope would be if the orphanage could give her the medical attention she obviously needed.
     In late 2009 we officially adopted a then 3 year old Hosanna, and moved home to Canada. Hosanna is now a vivacious and beautiful 14 year old. She has had 285 blood transfusions to date, she receives a transfusion every 2 weeks. We are so grateful to the hundreds of people who have donated blood over the years, truly giving her life.
     We had asked Dr. Poon if there was a cure for Beta-Thalassemia Major and he told us there was; a bone-marrow transplant from a matched sibling. Greg and I kept thinking how wonderful it would be if we could find her family. A burning determination began to grow in me... I kept thinking, God can see who they are! The Chinese say, “it would be like finding a needle at the bottom of the ocean”. However, in 2017 with the help of two creative reporters Hosanna's story was shared on Chinese social media and amazingly her family bravely came forward.
     Working back and forth with two doctors between two countries the family willingly underwent the necessary DNA testing. We rejoiced when it was confirmed that Hosanna is in fact their biological daughter! We also found out that Hosanna has two siblings; perhaps the greatest miracle being that one of her siblings is a perfect bone-marrow match for Hosanna. We had indeed found a needle at the bottom of the ocean!
      Now finally, after a long time of planning and a year of delays due to the Corona Virus, we find ourselves in the end paperwork stages for Hosanna’s bone-marrow transplant. The enormous application process for unique travel visas for Hosanna’s biological parent and sibling is underway, and we’re arranging for them to fly here this year. Hosanna will start the necessary medical preparations for her transplant soon.

Thank you so very much for your interest and your prayers along this journey.  Stay tuned... more updates to follow soon . 

      Most gratefully,
          Greg & Cathy Crowell








Newest Update

Journal entry by Cathy Crowell

We received some good news this week! The bio dad and sibling's passports with their visas for Canada have arrived!! We are so grateful to have this confirmation.

We also heard back from the transplant team , they gave us dates for when the family should arrive... we will now begin working on airline tickets and accomodations.The plan is to have the bone marrow transplant this summer at the Calgary Children's hospital. Eight weeks before we move to Calgary Hosanna will need to start pre-transplant conditioning with a chemo drug and steroid.  The real nasty Chemo will be started once we are in Calgary.

I am following a couple of kids in the US who have had bone marrow transplants... It has been emotionally challenging reading about their journeys and knowing that we are about to begin the same journey.

The transplant nurse reminded me that most families going into this only focus on the transplant. She said our situation is so unique in that we have been working for 4 years finding the family, arranging for this transplant to be a possibility and then orchestrating it all.    We have felt very worn out at times and yet this is really just the beginning...the hardest part is still to come. We daily ask God to help us, He is helping us !!

Family and Friends and even people we have never met have said they are standing with us, walking beside us and praying for us.

We are so grateful,

Love & Hugs,

Cathy

 

Prayer needs:

~flights 1) Family coming from China  & 2)Interpreter/helper/friend coming from Europe.

~Interpreter, we are arranging for our friend who speaks mandarin and understands the culture to help for the duration of the family's stay

~Arriving in Canada they will need to spend 3 days in a "COVID Hotel" then the apt for the remainder of their quarantine period and stay in Canada .  Lots of arrangements to make, but Hosanna will be immune compromised and we will need help...pray for "helpers".

~Hosanna's conditioning protocol

~Housing arrangements (we are hoping to rent an apartment that is only 15 minutes from the hospital)  RMH may also be an option (except with Covid is is much more complicated :(     (RMH Ronald McDonald House)

~Pray for us, as we get closer to transplant we have some panic moments

~Greg, as he trys to juggle, work and having Hosanna (& me) 3 hours away.

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