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Teen offers marrow to save Mom
(Shenzhen Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-10 08:59

When most kids his age are overwhelmed with parental love, Chao Zai, 13, has taken on the burden of caring for his mother who has leukemia.

"I have only one mother," he sobbed, "and I would save my mom's life with my own marrow if I could."

At first glance, the well-tanned boy looks just like any other lively kid in the Haizhu District neighborhood in Guangzhou. Once he started to talk about his mother's condition, however, his face saddened.

"I couldn't do anything to help my mom, when I peeped into her room and saw her give herself shots of interferon", the boy said.

The mother, Li Haizhen, who was laid off from work in 2001, was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago. The news dealt a shocking blow to the family which was already in need. According to a relative, the family of three is now surviving on the father's meager salary of 790 yuan a month (about 65 US dollars).

Before his mother became ill, the boy said he could occasionally go to Macdonald's. In China, this is usually a luxury for boys from lower-income families. "But I'll never go there anymore," the boy said, shaking his head sadly, "I'll save every coin for my mom."

The medical fees have become a terrible burden for the family. It has cost them all their savings and left them deeply in debt.

The father, striving to earn bread for the family and medical fees for his wife, is seldom able to go home.

The boy thought of offering his own marrow when he first heard doctors were looking for a suitable marrow donor. "At first, I was a little scared by the thought, but she's the only mother in my life. I'm more than willing to give her my marrow." But Li rejected her son's offer saying he was too young.

This year, there was finally some good news for the family. Li's sister, 50, has been found to be a suitable marrow donor, and the local Family Health Association has started to help the family with donations and medical services.

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