The Yi Fan Fund

In December 2009 the Yi Fan Fund was established by the United Foundation for Children Health, a not-for-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). 100% of the donations gathered for the Yi Fan Fund will go directly toward providing health care for Yi Fan. Thanks to the archive team, including Bill Patterson and Margie Wills for gathering the information and migrating the content to the new cms.  Although fund raising has ceased the site continues to provide a model for others attempting to help similarly afflicted children. This was its website created to bring awareness and raise money for Yi Fan.

Yi Fan is 5 years old and she is dying
She has pulmonary hypertension
She loves poetry, her bunny and her Mom and Dad
Her dreams include walking in the park, roller skating and
someday going to school.

We need your help to make this dream come true... 

Her Story

 Compared to most children, four-year-old Yi Fan’s Christmas wish isn’t much. All she wants is a chance to learn how to roller skate, go to school, and make some friends. Born with severe lung disease, she’s never been able to live a normal life, going in and out of hospitals, for painful treatments, and never being able to go far from her supply of oxygen. But despite her pain and frustrations, Yi Fan has never given up on life and brings her parents nothing but joy. Now they are desperate for help to save her life.

Yi Fan, who turns five this Christmas, may not see her 6th birthday unless her parents, Jack Pan and Ping Zhou, can raise $300, 000 - $500,000 to send their little girl to see some of the best specialists in the world. Refusing to give up on their only child, Jack and Ping have already sold their home to fund Yi Fan’s medical costs. Now, time is running out and they are willing to do anything to give their daughter a chance of life.

Her Beijing-based international doctor, Steven Alexander, believes that if he can get her to one of the top children's hospitals the United States, they may be able to help her. The doctors there use new medical technologies and have experience with cases like Yi Fan’s, experience which is nearly impossible to find elsewhere. “They’ve exhausted all the diagnostic and therapeutic means here in China,” said Dr Alexander, a specialist in intensive care medicine trained at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “She will most certainly die in the next 12 to 18 months without a more extensive evaluation. Her actual diagnosis will become a mute point and her only therapy may be a pediatric lung transplant. To my knowledge, such a procedure has not yet been successfully carried out in China.”

 Over the last 5 years, the United States has performed the most pediatric lung transplants in the world and, once on the list, a patient usually receives a transplant within 60 days. For these reasons, Yi Fan’s parents believe this is the best place to send their child. “All Yi Fan wants is a chance to wear beautiful roller skates, to dance and to go out to school like all the other children,” said her 31-year –old mother Ping. “Every time we go to the hospital for injections, we encourage her to be brave and she is such a strong girl, she always is. When she hears the other children crying, she doesn’t join in. She stays brave and says to herself: ‘I am the best’”.

Her father, also 31, says that although his little girl has never been able to attend playgroups or pre-school because of her health, she works hard to learn things at home. “At three years old, she had already memorized a lot of Chinese ancient poetry,” he said. “With God’s help, we pray that one day she will be able to go to school every morning, just like all the other children.”

 Her parents moved to Beijing 10 years ago from Guizhou and Heilongjiang provinces to look for work. But after Yi Fan’s lung problems became clear, Ping had to give up her promising career in graphic design. “On the second day she came into this world, she was sent to the intensive care unit of the hospital,” said Jack. “After 15 days of treatment, we went home with the hope of beginning a wonderful new life. But just one year and two months later, she had to go to hospital again with pneumonia and things went from bad to worse. After 18 days of treatment, the hospital gave up on her and told us there was nothing they could do. When she came home, her voice was so hoarse; we could only see her mouth crying but couldn’t hear the slightest sound.”

Selling their home, the Pan’s managed to raise enough money to buy an oxygen machine to help Yi Fan’s depleted lungs supply her body with enough oxygen. Their daughter never gave up and struggled on, eventually learning to walk at the age of three. But as she grew and her body made more demands of her lungs, her condition deteriorated and without the oxygen mask, she could not breathe, let alone walk. Since then, she has not been able to be more than 3 meters from the oxygen machine. Her whole life revolves around books and television. Her friends come from cartoons.

Dr Alexander has already been able to improve Yi Fan’s quality of life with new drugs but he believes that if he can get her to the experienced specialists in the United States they can do so much more. If Yi Fan does need a lung transplant, statistics show that 50% of children survive to 5 years with 25 % surviving to 15 years or beyond. “I’ve seen thousands of very sick children during my career,” he said. “But there is just something about this little girl which moves me. Her father told me that when Yi Fan saw the crying children in the Sichuan earthquake last year, Yi Fan told her father to send her own savings to help. I just thought; What amazing love from one so small.” The United Foundation for Children’s Health, a nonprofit organization which helps to provide health care to children with special medical needs, has set up this fund to collect donations for Yi Fan.


Our Goals

As of December 2009, YI Fan does not have a definitive diagnosis. We do know, based on her current studies, that she has chronic interstitial disease and pulmonary hypertension. Over time, this will compromise the function of the heart and eventually cause death. YI Fan needs to be evaluated by an experienced pediatric pulmonary team at a hospital in the United States. She will need to undergo extensive testing, likely including a lung biopsy, and will possibly require a lung transplant. The estimated cost of this care is 300,000-500,000 US dollars. Our goal is to reach out to caring people and collect the necessary funding by Febuary 2010. With your help, we can save a beautiful life and make this sweet girl's simple dreams come true!

The Yi Fan Fund has been established by the United Foundation for Children Health, a not-for-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). 100% of the donations gathered for the Yi Fan Fund will go directly toward providing health care for Yi Fan. Please note that PayPal charges a fee of approximately 2% when collecting donations for charities. Although we will gladly accept donations made through PayPal, checks are preferred so that every cent can go towards Yi Fan's care. If, for any unforeseen circumstance the funds gathered for Yi Fan are not utilized, any remaining funds would be transferred to the United Foundation for Children Health general fund to provide health care for other children with special medical needs.




On January 18, 2012  Yi Fan died due to organ failure. Yi Fan parents agreed to donate her heart to a needy patient.



More Background On The Yi Fan Fund

The Yi Fan Fund was established as a beacon of hope for children facing dire health challenges, exemplified through the efforts to save Yi Fan, a young girl battling severe pulmonary hypertension. While the specific journey of Yi Fan and the fund established in her name is a poignant example, it also opens up a broader discussion on the importance of healthcare initiatives for children and the various organizations that have dedicated themselves to such causes.

The United Healthcare Children's Foundation (UHCCF) is a prominent example of an organization committed to improving children's health across the United States. With a mission to provide medical grants to enhance the quality of life for children, UHCCF has awarded over 34,000 grants, amounting to more than $70 million in grant value. Their work is a testament to the impact that focused healthcare initiatives can have on children's lives, offering a blend of financial assistance and care that aligns closely with the kind of support that funds like Yi Fan Fund aim to provide​.

On a global scale, organizations like The Global Fund for Children (GFC) target the welfare of children at the edges of society, including trafficked children, refugees, and child laborers. GFC's approach involves investing in grassroots organizations to transform children's lives, with more than 9 million children having benefited from their support. Their grants, generally ranging between $25,000 and $75,000, are aimed at projects focusing on education, HIV/AIDS, disability, and youth & adolescents, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to child welfare that transcends geographical and societal boundaries​​.

Another notable organization is the Children's Health Fund (CHF), which operates with a mission to provide healthcare for every child, especially those in under-resourced communities. CHF's initiatives, including mobile clinics and public health programs, have facilitated over 533,009 healthcare visits in 2023 alone. Their national network and partner programs have resulted in millions of health encounters since 1987, showcasing the substantial scale and impact of their work on children's health across various communities​​.

These examples highlight the critical work being done by various organizations to ensure that children, irrespective of their circumstances, have access to the healthcare and support they need. While the Yi Fan Fund represents a specific instance of fundraising efforts directed at saving a child's life, the broader landscape of child healthcare initiatives encompasses a range of strategies, from direct medical grants and support services to capacity-building for grassroots organizations. Together, these efforts contribute to a more inclusive and supportive healthcare environment for children worldwide.



The audience for the Yi Fan Fund, as established by the United Foundation for Children's Health, was primarily aimed at compassionate individuals, philanthropists, and donors interested in contributing to healthcare initiatives for children in critical need. This audience includes:

  1. Philanthropic Individuals and Families: People looking to contribute to causes that make a significant impact on children's lives, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds or those facing severe health challenges.

  2. Healthcare Professionals and Organizations: Medical experts, hospitals, and health-oriented organizations interested in supporting or learning about innovative treatments and medical support for children with rare or severe conditions.

  3. Community and Religious Groups: Community organizations and religious groups often seek out charitable causes that align with their values of compassion and assistance to the needy, making them a key audience for such fundraising efforts.

  4. Corporate Donors and Foundations: Businesses and foundations with a focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR), especially those with a health and wellness mission, would be interested in supporting a cause like the Yi Fan Fund as part of their philanthropic activities.

  5. General Public with an Interest in Child Welfare: The broader public, especially those moved by stories of individuals overcoming adversity and those with a general interest in child welfare and healthcare, would also be part of the audience.

  6. Advocacy and Support Groups for Children’s Health: Organizations and groups that advocate for improved healthcare for children, both at national and international levels, are also key audiences. These groups can help amplify the fund's message and attract more support.

  7. Online Communities and Social Networks: With the rise of social media and online fundraising platforms, digitally connected individuals and communities who are responsive to compelling stories and causes presented online would also form a significant part of the audience.

This audience is not only looked upon as a source of financial contributions but also as a network for spreading awareness about Yi Fan's condition and the broader issue of access to healthcare for children with severe medical conditions.


Known For

The Yi Fan Fund, as detailed in this document, is known for several key aspects:

  1. Humanitarian Cause: The fund was established to gather donations to provide healthcare for Yi Fan, a young girl suffering from severe pulmonary hypertension, underscoring a deep commitment to humanitarian aid and the welfare of children with critical health needs.

  2. Community and Global Outreach: Spearheaded by the United Foundation for Children's Health, the fund represents an effort to reach out to both local and international communities to rally support for Yi Fan's cause, showcasing the power of collective action in addressing individual healthcare crises.

  3. Healthcare Advocacy: Beyond fundraising, the initiative also served to advocate for the importance of access to high-quality healthcare for children, particularly those requiring specialized treatments not available in their home countries.

  4. Educational Impact: Through its efforts to publicize Yi Fan's story, the fund has contributed to raising awareness about pulmonary hypertension and other severe medical conditions in children, potentially encouraging more informed public discussions and support for research in these areas.

  5. Organ Donation Awareness: Following Yi Fan's tragic passing and her parents' decision to donate her heart, the fund also inadvertently became a platform for promoting organ donation, highlighting the life-saving potential of organ transplants.

  6. Model for Future Efforts: The document mentions that although fundraising has ceased, the site continues to provide a model for others attempting to help similarly afflicted children, indicating its role as a blueprint for similar charitable efforts.

  7. Challenge of Misidentification: The fund experienced challenges due to misidentification with a Chinese extortion gang of the same name in Google search results, bringing to light the difficulties and unintended hurdles that can impact digital fundraising and awareness efforts.

The Yi Fan Fund is thus known not only for its direct mission to support Yi Fan but also for its broader contributions to healthcare advocacy, organ donation awareness, and the challenges of navigating digital spaces for charitable causes.



The history of the Yi Fan Fund, as detailed in this document, traces a heartfelt and complex journey that began in December 2009 with its establishment by the United Foundation for Children's Health. Here is a summarized history based on the information shared:

Establishment and Purpose

  • December 2009: The fund was created to support Yi Fan, a young girl suffering from pulmonary hypertension, a severe condition affecting the lungs and the heart. The objective was to raise between $300,000 and $500,000 for her to receive medical evaluation and possibly a lung transplant in the United States, which her parents and doctors believed could offer a chance at life she couldn't find in China.

Challenges and Efforts

  • Yi Fan's Condition: Yi Fan's health condition was dire, with predictions that she would not survive past her next birthday without advanced medical intervention. Her parents had already expended their resources, including selling their home, to cover her medical expenses.
  • Global Outreach: The fund aimed to reach a global audience for financial support, leveraging the United Foundation for Children's Health's network and resources. This included creating awareness about Yi Fan’s condition and the complexities of pediatric lung transplants.
  • Misidentification Issue: The fundraising efforts faced an unexpected hurdle when Google search results mistakenly associated the Yi Fan Fund with a Chinese extortion gang, creating confusion and potentially hindering fundraising efforts.


  • Advocacy and Awareness: While the primary goal was to raise funds for Yi Fan's treatment, the campaign also highlighted the broader issues of access to healthcare for critically ill children and the potential of international medical cooperation.
  • Organ Donation Advocacy: After Yi Fan's untimely death due to organ failure on January 18, 2012, her parents made the profound decision to donate her heart, adding a significant chapter to the fund's history that emphasized the importance of organ donation.


  • The document mentions that although the active fundraising campaign for Yi Fan has ceased, the initiative continues to serve as a model for other charitable efforts aimed at helping children with similar afflictions. This legacy includes the comprehensive planning, global outreach, and community engagement strategies employed during the campaign.


The history of the Yi Fan Fund is marked by community effort, global outreach, and the challenges of fundraising in the digital age. It reflects a poignant story of hope, tragedy, and the continuing impact of charitable efforts on public awareness and healthcare advocacy. While the ultimate goal of saving Yi Fan was not achieved, the fund's efforts have contributed to a greater awareness of pediatric health issues and the importance of organ donation, leaving a lasting legacy in the realm of humanitarian aid.


Cultural & Social Significance

The Yi Fan Fund, established by the United Foundation for Children's Health, holds considerable cultural and social significance on multiple fronts, reflecting broader themes in public health, philanthropy, and the digital age's impact on humanitarian efforts. Here are several aspects of its cultural and social significance:

Humanitarian and Philanthropic Efforts

  • Global Solidarity: The fund represents a global response to individual health crises, illustrating how communities across the world can come together to support a single cause. This showcases a growing trend in philanthropy that leverages technology and social networks to mobilize resources and awareness for causes worldwide.
  • Health Equity: By focusing on Yi Fan's need for advanced medical treatment unavailable in her home country, the effort highlights the disparities in healthcare access and quality across different regions. It underscores the importance of health equity and the need for international cooperation in providing life-saving medical care to those in need, regardless of their geographical location.

Awareness and Advocacy

  • Disease Awareness: The campaign brought attention to pulmonary hypertension, a condition that may not be widely known among the general public. By sharing Yi Fan's story, the fund contributed to increased awareness and understanding of this serious health condition and its impact on patients and their families.
  • Organ Donation Advocacy: Following the tragic loss of Yi Fan and the decision to donate her heart, the fund inadvertently became a powerful advocate for organ donation. This aspect of the campaign emphasizes the life-affirming potential of organ donation and its ability to bring hope and healing out of personal tragedy.

Digital Era Challenges and Opportunities

  • Digital Fundraising: The Yi Fan Fund's use of a website and online platforms for fundraising and awareness reflects the evolving landscape of philanthropy in the digital age. It highlights the potential reach and immediacy of digital campaigns, as well as the challenges they face, such as misinformation and the risk of misidentification, as was the case with the Google search results confusion.
  • Community Engagement: The effort demonstrates how digital platforms can foster a sense of global community and shared purpose, allowing individuals from various backgrounds to contribute to a common cause. It also raises questions about the sustainability and impact of such digital campaigns in the long term.

Ethical and Moral Considerations

  • Ethical Fundraising: The fund's transparent approach, ensuring that 100% of the donations would directly support Yi Fan's healthcare, touches upon the ethical considerations in charitable fundraising. It reflects the importance of trust and accountability in philanthropy.
  • Moral Responsibility: The initiative highlights the moral responsibility felt by individuals and communities towards helping those in dire need, especially when it concerns vulnerable populations like sick children. It underscores the shared human impulse to aid others, transcending cultural and national boundaries.

In sum, the Yi Fan Fund's cultural and social significance extends beyond its immediate goal of raising money for Yi Fan's treatment. It encompasses broader themes of global solidarity, health equity, digital philanthropy's challenges and opportunities, and the moral imperatives that drive humanitarian efforts. Through its legacy, the fund contributes to ongoing discussions about how best to leverage collective resources and compassion to address individual and systemic health crises worldwide.