Arban has cerebral palsy and needed surgery in order to walk. But the life-changing surgery he needed was in India — an impossible distance and expense for a family living in poverty in Mongolia. But then, generous Holt donors did the impossible for this special 8 year old…
Eight-year-old Arban could roll over on his own, but he couldn’t crawl. He could sit comfortably in a chair, but he wasn’t able to walk. He could hold things in his left hand, but he couldn’t feed himself.
Arban has cerebral palsy, which made the right side of his body especially weak. He had trouble with basic movements and daily tasks like eating, standing and walking on his own. He lives in Mongolia with his grandparents. They love him and take the best care of him they can, but this has become more of a struggle as he’s grown.
“Due to his severe muscle tension, it was very difficult for us to carry an 8-year-old boy,” his grandparents said. “Holding and lifting him makes everything hard for him and us.”
For Arban’s whole life, his grandparents have desperately hoped for the opportunity to help him. But even if a miracle opportunity did come about, they wondered how they would ever pay for it…
Raising Money for Surgery
Then, his doctors found it. There’s a procedure they said would help him, a spinal surgery that encourages independent movement in the legs. It might even allow Arban to walk.
But there’s not a single hospital in Mongolia that performs this surgery. Desperately looking for options, his doctors and grandparents found a hospital in New Delhi, India that would perform the surgery. But they would have to remain there for three months while Arban healed and received physical therapy. The total cost would be an unreachable $40,000.
This was far too much money for Arban’s grandparents to afford on their own, as a family from an impoverished rural community in Mongolia. But they were committed to helping him and started raising money through donations from family and friends. They even sold their car, and as many of their other possessions as they could. After a year, they raised more than half of what they needed, but it still wasn’t enough.
“Although we made the decision to seek medical treatment for our grandson, the process of finding money to pay for high expenses was time consuming and stressful,” his grandparents said.
Thankfully the Molly Holt Fund exists so children just like Arban can get the medical care they need and deserve.
The Molly Holt Fund Helps Children Like Arban
Molly Holt was a nurse and the daughter of our founders, someone who spent her life caring for children with special needs. She loved all of them deeply, and believed firmly that every child deserves a family and medical care to give them the best opportunity in life.
It’s because of Molly’s amazing life and legacy that we have the Molly Holt Fund. Each year, Holt donors generously give to care for children with special needs in Molly’s honor. The Molly Holt Fund is a continuation of Molly’s life and work — providing heart surgeries, cleft lip and palate operations, physical therapy, lifesaving medications and more to vulnerable children who desperately need it.
Arban is exactly who the Molly Holt Fund was designed to help! As soon as Holt Mongolia heard about Arban’s grandparents’ efforts, they stepped in with donations from the Molly Holt Fund to provide the rest of the money needed for Arban’s surgery.
“We had already lost a year when we received your generous donation,” Arban’s grandparents said. “There are no words to describe how grateful we are for the financial and emotional support you have given to us in such a short period of time, to improve the quality of our grandson’s life.”
Surgery in India
So, last summer, Arban and his grandparents gathered their things. Then they made the long journey from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to New Delhi, India. It took considerable effort to transport Arban, with his impacted mobility, on such a long trip. His grandparents were nervous but so excited! They hoped that the grueling journey would be worth it for the sake of their precious grandson’s opportunities in life.
Little Arban received surgery on May 27, 2022. He had to spend nine hours on his stomach with a tube down his throat while the surgeons operated.
But the surgery was a success! So were the three months rehabilitation post-op in India, before the family could travel home.
“His legs look like other kids’ now!”Arban’s grandmother
Before the operation, Arban’s legs had been stiff and angled, prohibiting him from walking and causing him a great deal of discomfort every day.
But today, after surgery and therapy, Arban’s grandmother says joyfully, “His legs look like other kids’ now!”
Arban and his grandparents traveled safely back to Mongolia in August 2022, where he continued to receive support and therapeutic care. He has been learning to walk and stand on his own, to the joy of his family.
Thank You, from Arban’s Grandparents
After the surgery and return to Mongolia, Arban’s grandparents wrote a detailed letter thanking Holt donors for their generosity. Watching their 8-year-old grandson take his first steps, they were overwhelmed with gratitude.
“Although it is sad that we do not know each and every one of you who have donated and supported us and cannot thank you personally,” wrote his grandparents. “We want to emphasize that we feel proud and respectful of your organization as we think about how generous and humane you have been for the welfare of our grandson. As a result of the surgeries, my grandson’s quality of life improved significantly.”
This is what the Molly Holt Fund exists to do: provide orphaned and vulnerable children with life-changing medical care so they can live as healthy and independent as possible. Thanks to his loving grandparents and generous Holt donors, Arban can look forward to a life with greater freedom and opportunity!
Give to the Molly Holt Fund!
Provide urgently needed medical care, therapies or adaptive equipment for a child with a disability or healthcare need.