Although stricken with strabismus since birth, six-year-old Liu Ke Li is a clever, outgoing boy who everyone calls "Chocolate". While his Dad and Granddad struggled to feed four mouths from their less than RMB100 a month laborers' wages, the family was content with their meager lot in life.
Tragically, no one was aware of Chocolate's strabismus until the boy started school and the other kids began cruelly mocking the way he narrowed his eyes when reading. While Chocolate's Mum and Dad loved their son unconditionally, their poor education meant they were terrified by surgery. As his Mum and Dad agonized about treatment, Chocolate's tilting of his head to overcome his strabismus started worsen and began to cruelly distort his posture.
In May 2012, our Flying Eye Hospital once again visited Gansu. Luckily, Chocolate was chosen for surgery by our volunteer medical team during a two-week program with the Second Hospital of Lanzhou University. When we first screened his eyes, Chocolate said bravely: "I'm not afraid of having an operation! I know the doctor will cut my eyelids and cover my eyes with bandages. All I have to do is avoid rubbing them and stay away from water for a few days." Moved by their son's bravery, Chocolate's parents finally agreed to surgery.
Sandra accompanied Chocolate during his successful sight-saving journey aboard the Flying Eye Hospital. When we asked the boy why he was so unafraid of the surgeon's knife, he told us: "When I grow up, I want to be a policeman and you are not allowed to narrow your eyes when you are on duty!"