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August 11, 2011

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Home » Metro » Society

Charity activist dies of cancer

ZHANG Jingdi, a retired French language teacher and devoted charity activist, died of kidney cancer at age 86 in Shanghai's Zhongshan Hospital on Tuesday afternoon.

By using his deep bonds with foreign friends and the local expatriate communities, Zhang raised more than 5 million yuan (US$760,000) from foreigners to help needy locals over the past two decades.

He was awarded the honor of "Charity Star" by the local government for his contributions.

Zhang had been struggling from kidney cancer for nearly six months, said his family.

"I want to extend gratitude to all the foreign friends who volunteered to donate blood to save my father's life," said Zhang Chunyu, the senior's son. "Their support was cherished and supported us through that difficult time."

More than a dozen foreign readers of Shanghai Daily offered to donate blood to help Zhang after the newspaper reported in February that he was suffering anemia following surgery. Zhang's AB-negative blood type is rare among Chinese but more commonly found in Caucasians. After the news surfaced, the local blood center got enough donations to give Zhang transfusions to boost his recovery.

The family is now informing Zhang's foreign friends, from home and abroad, of his funeral on Saturday.

"We don't have contacts of many of Dad's foreign friends on our hand. They are all invited to the funeral to say goodbye to him," said Zhang's son.


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