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Giving Gift of Life: Parents donate kidneys to save children

By Ma Danning (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2015-01-17 09:35
Giving Gift of Life: Parents donate kidneys to save children

Li Kai is with his parents before a kidney transplant operation on him and his mother at General Hospital of Chinese People's Armed Police Forces in Beijing, Wednesday. Li and his sister both have uremia and each parent has decided to donate a kidney to their children. [Photo/IC]

In 2009 the Li family of Chengde city, Hebei province, was struck with misfortune, their 17-year-old son was diagnosed with uremia. Three years later, tragedy struck again, their eldest daughter was diagnosed with the same disease.

To save their children, Li Qingzhong and his wife, Duan Shuhua, both farmers, decided to undergo the knife to each donate a working kidney to their son and daughter. The period after surgery was tough on Li and his wife, they were worried whether the kidneys would be rejected or not.

The original cost of treatment for their son, Li Kai, cost at least 6,000 yuan (about US$968) a month. It left the family cash-strapped, so that Li Qingzhong had to help his son receive his daily dialysis treatments at home. Even with Li Qingzhong's efforts,, the family accrued more than 100,000 yuan in debt.

The family's plight came under the spotlight following several Chinese media reports in 2013. The Chinese Red Cross Foundation raised money for the family, and the General Hospital of the Armed Police Forces in Beijing promised to carry out physical exams for the family free of charge.

Considering the huge costs of the medication, a pharmaceutical company in Hangzhou city has offered to donate to the youths some medicine to help the family through their financial and physical difficulties.

The General Hospital of Chinese People's Armed Police Forces in Beijing provided the surgeries free of charge.

Giving Gift of Life: Parents donate kidneys to save children

The mother awaits surgery, in which she will donate a kidney to her son who suffers from uremia. "She (my wife) did not know that one cannot live without kidneys; she even wanted to donate both her kidneys at first," Li Qingzhong said. [Photo/IC]

After tests proved the father's kidneys are more of a match with the son, and the mother's a match for their daughter's, the couple decided to transplant their organs. To take care of each other better, they underwent the surgery, to positive results.

"There are few kidney donors in China, and you have to wait for a long time. If we donate our own kidneys, we can save a large amount of money, as well as waiting time," Mr Li told the Beijing Times on Wednesday.

On Wednesday afternoon at General Hospital of Chinese People's Armed Police Forces in Beijing, an eight-hour transplant operation on the son and the mother went smoothly. The operation for the daughter will take place later.

"She (my wife) did not know that one cannot live without kidneys; she even wanted to donate both her kidneys at first," Li said on the verge of tears.

"But she is much happier than any of us knowing that the kids have a chance to survive."

Asked what he wanted to do after the operation, Li Kai said, "I want to go to school."

He hasn't been to school since he fell ill almost six years ago.

The parents needn't worry about their own health as one kidney is enough to maintain life, but their children have to take medication to prevent rejection of the new kidneys.

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