Young man in Fujian gives gift of life

By Hu Meidong in Fuzhou and Zhou Huiying | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-01-26 09:54
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Zheng Yutao, 23, a staff member at an airline company in Xiamen, Fujian province, donated his hematopoietic stem cells to a Philippine leukemia patient on Jan 11. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Zheng Yutao recently received a handwritten letter of thanks in English, expressing gratitude from a Philippine leukemia patient for donating cells from his bone marrow.

Zheng, 23, a staff member of an airline company in Xiamen, Fujian province, donated hematopoietic stem cells to the Philippine patient, whose name is being withheld for privacy reasons, on Jan 11.

It was the first case in which the Chinese Marrow Bank had donated to help a Philippine patient. The cells are found in bone marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood.

"I wish this letter find you well and give you more encouragement and compassion to continue sharing your stem cell to help cure me and giving me another chance at life," the man wrote in his letter.

Zheng signed up for the China Marrow Donor Program at the university.

In July 2021, when he received the message that his stem cells matched a patient, he agreed without hesitation to donate.

He spent several months on a series of physical examinations and adjusting his diet to get the best physical condition. However, Zheng's parents worried that the donation would affect his health.

"I told my father the patient was about the same age as him," he said. "If I were his child, I would definitely want someone to step up and save my father."

Zheng also collected medical knowledge on hematopoietic stem cell donation through various channels, and finally gained the support of his parents.

He also received great support from his colleagues.

The head of his department helped him arrange his work and asked a staff member to accompany him in the hospital during the operation.

A colleague who had the experience of hematopoietic stem cell donation also shared a lot of details with him.

Upon completion of the four-hour operation, his stem cells were taken by a doctor to Nanjing, Jiangsu province, to save the man.

"Spring Festival is coming soon and through the year living China, in this wonderful country, my second home, this festival for me is about celebrating life with family," the grateful patient said in a letter. "I am again thankful in advance to you and your family for giving me a chance to celebrate it."

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