For many Chinese high school exchange students, learning English is a challenge. Lee Sue Deng, a 10th grade student who attends youth group at First Christian Reformed Church in Lynden, Wash., faced a different obstacle.
Lee Sue with her mom, Huang Qyn.
Only a few weeks after arriving in the United States to attend Lynden Christian High School, she discovered a large lump in her neck. After several tests, she was diagnosed with Stage 4A Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“We have several international students involved with our youth group,” said youth pastor Dan Houston. “When Lee Sue found out that she had cancer, it really hit them.”
A doctor at Seattle Children’s Hospital obtained an emergency visa allowing Huang Qyn, Lee’s mother, to fly in from China. Sharon Eaden of Lynden, Wash., was Lee Sue’s host and cared for her prior to Huang Qyn’s arrival. “I didn’t have to do much,” Eaden said. “I was just the instrument. I am a mom, and I like to take care of people. I think God knew I would take care of it. The rest was not up to me.”
First CRC high school youth group members sold prayer bracelets to encourage others to remember Lee Sue and financially support her medical treatments. Houston also took a group of students to Seattle during the Chinese New Year in February to visit Lee Sue.
“I believe the church is like a tribe and takes care of the ones that God has brought to us just like we would any of our family,” said Houston. “When a situation like this presents itself, it puts everything in perspective.”
Lee Sue and her mother are staying at a Ronald McDonald House in Seattle so that they can be close to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Lee Sue has finished her chemotherapy treatments and will begin radiation soon.