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Dad's struggle goes on

THE plastic workshop that he hated is gone from his village, but Lu Weiming, father of a boy with cerebral palsy and a girl with leukemia, has not stopped struggling.

Believing that pollution from the plant caused his daughter's leukemia, Lu is collecting evidence and finding lawyers to sue the one-time Shanghai Zhaohong reclamation depot.

But his biggest difficulty is money.

Lu, who earns about 5,000 yuan (US$732) per month as a quality control inspector at an aquatic food company in Songjiang District, is straining to pay his daughter's medical cost.

Lu is the family's only source of income. He and his wife already owe 200,000 yuan after three phases of chemotherapy for their two-year-old daughter, Wang Bole.

Yet they are intent on raising another 500,000 yuan for Wang's surgery and further treatment.

"I will never give up," Lu told Shanghai Daily. "It is a foot bridge I have to walk above an abyss. I want to walk to the end with my family."

Wang was transferred to Shanghai Children's Medical Center yesterday - on Children's Day, appropriately enough - after being abandoned by several hospitals that gave up on a cure.

Wang was diagnosed in February with acute monocytic leukemia, which has a low cure rate and a high rate of relapses. She has been in chemotherapy ever since.

Before Wang was born, residents of Nanmen Village, Chedun Town in Songjiang, had endured pollution from the plastic mill in their neighborhood. Lu started to complain about the mill when his wife conceived Wang (the couple applied for a second child after their son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy), but the station was not totally demolished until March 15.

Songjiang's environmental protection bureau ordered the reclamation depot to stop operating last August because it had no license and fined it 5,000 yuan. But the company ignored the order and continued the processing.

The bureau denied the connection between the pollution and the cancers.


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