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August 3, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Leukemia patient set to get stem cell transplant

FOUR-YEAR-OLD leukemia patient Ma Lizhi will finally receive a stem cell transplant.

Once the matching donor, who lives in Beijing, passes all health checks, the transplant will be performed by doctors at Shanghai Children's Medical Center in seven to 10 days.

The boy's father Ma Shuzhu collected the 300,000 yuan (US$44,248) needed for the transplant in five days after setting up a website to tell people about his son. Once the website was set up, people started donating money.

"I will try my best and try every method to save his life," said Ma Shuzhu, 34, who works in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, and earns less 2,000 yuan per month. "We won't give up, because it means his death."

The family is from Henan Province. Ma Lizhi was diagnosed with leukemia in June 2009. Shortly later, his parents brought him to Shanghai Children's Medical Center for treatment.

Treatment initially went well, but the boy had a relapse in May and doctors said the only way to save his life was a stem cell transplant, which costs 300,000 yuan.

"If he doesn't have the stem cell transplant, he will likely have more frequent and severe relapses," said doctor Chen Jing at Shanghai Children's Medical Center. "This situation could kill him soon."

Though Ma Shuzhu found a matching donor at the stem cell bank quickly, the family had little money. They had spent their savings - selling their apartments and livestock - last year on the chemotherapy treatments. They even borrowed money for the chemotherapy treatments from relatives and friends.

Ma Shuzhu said some other friends encouraged him to make a website.

"I want to save my son desperately, so I spent a night setting up a very simple website ( to tell people his story and his strong desire to survive," the father said. "A local newspaper published my son's story."

The father said that the money will only be used for medical treatment.

"Each donation and expense will be publicized online and will be monitored by others and the newspaper," Ma Shuzhu said. "If there is money left, we will donate it to other sick children."


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