Donation offers hope for toddler

Beijing – Thanks to a public donation, a toddler suffering from a severe type of anemia will undergo cell-transplant surgery next week in Beijing. 

Xie Hongze, a 3-year-old boy from South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, will move on Thursday to a special isolation room at the Beijing-based PLA Navy General Hospital. His 32-year-old mother will be the donor in the surgery, which will transplant stem cells that make blood.

Thousands of donors, after learning of the boy’s condition and that his mother worked as a volunteer helping poor students, took part in an online campaign to raise money for his surgery. They eventually gave more than 470,000 yuan ($73,560). 

Xie has severe aplastic anemia, a condition in which a person’s bone marrow does not produce enough new blood cells, and needs a transplant of blood-producing stem cells as soon as possible.

His family has been in heavy debt since he was diagnosed a year ago and could not afford the procedure, said Wang Caiqin, Xie’s mother. 

“My husband and I only had 4,000 yuan left this past week and almost gave up the idea of continuing the treatments for my son,” Wang said, adding the surgery will cost 10 times more than what they have. 

Xie’s father was so desperate for money that he worked for 12 hours at a construction site near the hospital, which brought him 100 yuan a day. He also resorted to begging.

Love in Action, a charity organization dedicated to helping poor students, offered help to the desperate family. The boy’s mother used to be a volunteer in the organization and, in turn, received help. 

On its website, the organization founded a group-buying plan called “A loving action to touch 4,000 people”. Every participant in the plan was to lend 100 yuan to the family, and the organization’s goal was to obtain loans from 4,000 people from Aug 7 to 14. 

Wei Shaobiao, an initiator of the campaign, said he did not expect he and his collaborators would meet and even exceed their goal, or that most of the benefactors would give money instead of lending it. 

Because of the Internet and some mainstream media, the plan brought in more than 420,000 yuan by the end of Aug 13, when the organization ended its fundraising a day earlier than planned. 

By Aug 15, he had received about 473,992 yuan from 1,118 people, only 17 of whom expected to be repaid. 

Group purchases on the Internet were not the sole source. Part of the money was transferred directly to Xie’s bank account and part brought to the hospital in person. The biggest sum given was 100,000 yuan. 

The organization has put its accounting records on its website every day and promises to make information about the uses of the money public. “One good deed deserves another,” a participant using the name “Dada” said in a message left on the group-buying website. 

“The selfless help Wang Caiqin gave to poor students and the misfortunes of her son will not only move 4,000 people, I think, but those living in every corner of the world, and will inspire good in everyone’s heart.” 

Xie now lives in a special bed surrounded by a transplant plastic curtain, which is designed to prevent viruses and bacteria from getting in from the outside. The boy sometimes cannot stand the isolation he lives in and loves to find excuses to hug his parents. 

“My only wish is that my son can get well soon,” Wang said with tears in her eyes. “Then he can play outside like any other naughty boy his age.” 

Cheng Shuying contributed to this story.

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