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August 6, 2013

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Hospital comes to aid of tragic family of ‘Chinese Cabbage Dad’

SHANGHAI doctors are helping the tragedy-hit family of a well-known charity figure who has provided a school for hundreds of homeless children over the past 10 years.

A team at a local hospital is providing plastic surgery for the wife and son of Shi Qinghua, as the pair suffered serious burns 16 years ago.

Anhui Province native Shi’s school is said to have provided an education for 600 children. They nicknamed him “Chinese Cabbage Dad,” because Chinese cabbage is the main staple Shi can afford to feed the large numbers of children.

His Guang’ai School has been widely featured in the media, and “Chinese Cabbage Dad” became widely known after making a commercial to raise funds.

Yet while Shi was in the spotlight, little was known about his family. It has emerged that Shi’s wife, Wang Ping, and their son, Shi Rui, suffered serious burns in 1997, when fireworks stored near their home exploded.

They were left with extensive scarring which restricted facial movement.

Learning of the situation, Shanghai Elikeme Medical Cosmetology Hospital contacted the family with an offer to help.

“Both have severe scars on the face and can’t open their mouths freely,” said hospital official Zhang Lixin yesterday.

“We decided to offer three-phase surgery to allow them a  better quality of life.”

The first operations took place on Sunday, and the stitches will be removed in two or three days, officials said.

Zhang said the first and second phase surgery will be complete within a month or two, while the timing of the third will be determined by progress.

Shi’s decision to open a school was closely related to the accident.

Before, he worked at a trade company in the home town, while Wang ran a store.

In the accident, Wang was badly burned on her face, neck and arms, while Shi Rui sustained 40 percent burns, especially on his face and limbs.

Shi took his family to Beijing for surgery, but after using up all their money had to beg on the street.

His life changed after a Beijing newspaper reported the family’s plight and helped them receive sponsorship from a charity.

But Shi said experience begging let him get to know homeless children, who were very kind to his wife and son.

Shi and a friend opened a kindergarten in 2004, taking in homeless children to feed and educate. As numbers grew, the kindergarten became Guang’ai School.

Media reports in 2006 brought more help — and more needy children — with numbers quickly growing from a dozen to more than 100.

 




 

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