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November 17, 2010

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Expatriates unite to help selfless woman

MANY Shanghai expatriates are donating money to a British woman with terminal cancer.

Spending most of her time doing volunteer and charity work in Shanghai when she lived in the city between 2002 and 2005, Tania Matthews, 37, worked for the local hotline Lifeline Shanghai to help expatriates deal with cultural, marriage and other issues.

She also worked for Shanghai Sunrise, a local organization that sponsors education for high school children, and the Shanghai Expatriate Association.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 when she was in England. She is now in the final stage of the disease.

One of her best friends, Lois Freeke, a career coach in Shanghai, began soliciting donations through social networking websites last Sunday.

More than 750 pounds (US$1,204), mostly from expats in the city, had been collected and more than 2,000 people around the world began spreading the message online, Freeke said.

However, Matthews told Freeke she didn't want the money and asked that it be donated to the hospice she was living at in the United Kingdom. The hospice provides free care to its patients.

Freeke said Matthews' optimism had a big influence on many friends and she was always willing to help others.

"I want to let her know she impacted a lot of people through her positive attitude to life and charity work and her legacy will be left to many others," Freeke said.

Andy Matthews, Tania's husband, said his wife's health has taken a turn for the worse in the past few days and that she was now too sick to speak.

People can donate by visiting


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