Shaxi Old Theatre Inn - Jianchuan County, Dali, Yunnan, 671302, China




Shaxi Yunnan






A Shaxi temple and the "Miracle Baby"

Chapter 1: Nam, Chris and Natalie Barclay

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Chris and Nam Barclay were married in Guangzhou China in 2007 after a 6-month courtship between Chiang Mai Thailand and China. Chris was living in Guangzhou having started a successful corporate training company in 1996. In 2007, a client invited him to Chiang Mai to run a three-day leadership workshop. While staying in Chiang Mai, Chris met Nam and canceled his ticket back to China the next day so he could spend the weekend with Nam. Two weeks after he was back in Guangzhou, Nam came to visit for the weekend, then Chris went to Thailand for a visit two weeks after that. It was a whirlwind romance that ended up with Chris selling his business and townhome in Guangzhou to move to Chiang Mai, where the newlywed couple bought a beautiful new home in the longyan orchards just South of the city.

At that time, Chris was 43 and Nam 44 and by August of 2008, Nam was pregnant. The pregnancy went normally and in May 2009, the couple gave birth to a daughter, Natalie Grace Barclay.

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Natalie was born with jaundice, not uncommmon for Asian babies especially if they are breast-fed. The jaundice was mild at first and after it didn't fade in her second month, the couple took her in to run some tests. The results showed that Nat's liver wasn't functioning properly, so she was started on a drug regimen to improve this. After a few weeks, her liver function had not improved and she was diagnosed with a serious condition known as biliary atresia, where the liver cannot drain, causing toxins to build up in the blood. Doctors recommended that she have a liver bypass surgery known as a Kasai procedure, to drain the liver directly into the bowel.

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She had the bypass surgery in her fourth month and she recovered well.

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But tests after surgery showed that she had only improved temporarily and that her liver function was still not good. So she was started on a regimen of drugs, hoping that this would help improve her condition. By this time she was over five months and as the weeks went on, her liver function began to decline. Doctors estimated that if it continued, she would need a liver transplant as a last resort, so Chris and Nam began to prepare themselves for this. 

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By her 6th month, her liver began to fail, so instead of taking time to look for a donor, Chris volunteered to donate a section of his liver, and luckily, his blood and tissue type was a perfect match for Natalie. Surgery was planned for early December 2009 as Nat's conditioned worsened - her belly swelling, eyes yellowing and losing weight rapidly.

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The family settled into the hospital in Chiang Mai where the surgery would take place. The surgical team had an outstanding success record for this procedure, which would take over eight hours.

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The surgery was initially successful and both Chris and Nat were in recovery. But within 24 hours, Natalie had developed a blood clot deep in her brain which caused her brain to swell. The only way to relieve this pressure was to open her skull and remove part of her brain in an emergency procedure. By this time, the blood clot had caused her to fall into a coma where she could only be kept alive by machines. Hours after the procedure, the surgeons gave the couple the terrible news that Nat was unresponsive and would not recover. Chris and Nam agreed that it would not be right to keep her this way indefinitely, so they disconnected her from life-support and at only 7 months, Natalie passed away.

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Shaxi Old Theatre Inn
Duan Jia Deng Village, Shaxi Town
Jianchuan County, Dali, Yunnan, 671302, China
Call: +86 872 4722 296


Welcome to Shaxi Yunnan China - a cultural treasure of the ancient Tea Horse Road

Located halfway from Lijiang to Dali, Shaxi Yunnan is home to a beautifully preserved traditional way of life that offers a glimpse into a forgotten era. Shaxi has been protected from mass tourism due to its relative distance from popular destinations in Yunnan. But a new highway has made the driving distance from Dali to Shaxi or Lijiang just 90 minutes. The local government, keen to protect Shaxi's unique cultural heritage, is working with a conservation team that aims to create a sustainable travel strategy for the valley, encouraging activities that provide ownership opportunities for local families. Go now!