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23-year-old cancer victim makes selfless gesture in final days

People's Daily Online | Updated: 2016-11-02 08:38

After being diagnosed with late-stage stomach cancer, 23-year-old Liu Yuan made two decisions. First, she planned for a series of portraits to be taken of her and her family, so she could always be with them in some capacity. Next, she decided that her organs should be donated and her remains used for medical research.

Liu, from Siyang County, Jiangsu province, received her diagnosis after returning home from university for summer vacation. On July 6, Liu noticed that her abdomen felt uncomfortably swollen. She tried to ignore the discomfort, but her parents convinced her to go to the hospital. Two days later, Liu was told by doctors that her stomach was filled with fluid caused by late-stage stomach cancer. To her family's shock and dismay, the disease was pronounced terminal.

Following the diagnosis, Liu requested just one thing from her family. Before her disease got even worse, she wanted to take a series of photos with her parents and elder brother. These, she hoped, would help them to remember her once she was gone. So, between treatments, Liu and her family went to a studio to have their first and last set of photos taken together as a family. The once-lively Liu worked hard during the photo shoot to make sure her inner sorrow wouldn't show on her face.

On Sept. 28, Liu returned to the hospital, well aware that her time was short. It was then that Liu made her second request. She said to her parents, "My disease is incurable; after I die, I want to donate my body to medical research. If any of my organs can help someone else to live, then I want them to live on in that capacity." Liu asked her doctor to help make the arrangements.

In her last days, Liu's disease worsened. Her oral cavity became swollen, and she often lost consciousness. On Oct. 25, on her death bed, she asked her parents to inform her university of her death, and to ensure that her remains were sent to Nanjing Medical University for medical research. Liu passed away on Oct. 27, forever 23 in the hearts of her friends and family.

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