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Runaway sister donates marrow

THE 10-year-old girl who ran away from home last month while scheduled to give her stem cells to her four-year-old brother who was suffering from a blood disease, yesterday donated the cells, extracted from the bone marrow in her spine, at Shanghai Children's Medical Center.

Jiang Yuelan ran away for fear of being scolded by her mother for eating her landlord's noodles.

The 600 milliliters of bone marrow containing the stem cells extracted yesterday morning was transplanted into Jiang Shubao by 2pm.

The stem cells are expected to grow healthy blood cells to cure the brother's aplastic anemia - a condition where bone marrow does not produce sufficient new blood cells.

"It should take two to three weeks to confirm whether the transplant is successful or not," said Dr Chen Jing from the center's hematology and oncology department. "Even though Jiang Yuelan is a complete match of her brother, there is still a 10-percent possibility her stem cells won't grow inside the boy's body. Risks due to rejection and adverse reaction may also impact the transplant effects."

The boy will stay in hospital for a month, while the girl will be discharged today.

Jiang Yuelan received partial anesthesia during extraction and behaved bravely. "She even chatted with doctors and nurses in the operating room and asked for gifts as they praised her for the donation," said center official Xia Lin yesterday.

Because of loss of blood, Jiang was transfused with 250 milliliters of her own blood extracted two weeks ago. Doctors said that won't harm her health.

"I am good," Jiang Yuelan told Shanghai Daily after extraction yesterday. "Anesthesia is so interesting. I thought I had lost my legs since they became numb."

The transplant was originally scheduled for May 23 after a Singaporean promised to donate 50,000 yuan (US$7,300) for the 100,000 yuan medical expenses. However, Jiang Yuelan left her temporary home alone in Pudong New Area on May 19, sparking a massive search.


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