Little Zhang Xin Lei was diagnosed with a serious blood disorder called thalassemia at just 2 months old. Daddy Zhang Li Yong, who is a farmer in China, can no longer afford the costs of her treatment.
So, this distraught father dug a grave for his 2-year-old daughter, and brings her to play in it everyday, hoping that when the time came, she would be comfortable in her final resting place.
According to AsiaOne, Zhang Li Yong and wife Deng Min have already spent more than 140,000 Yuan (S$28,500) on Xin Lei’s medical treatment. This heartbroken father has been quoted as saying, “We have borrowed money from everyone possible, to the extent that nobody is willing to help us anymore.”
The couple are now also expecting their second child and were initially hopeful that the newborn’s cord blood could treat Xin Lei’s condition. However, they realised that the transplant would cost hundred of thousands of Yuan, which is beyond their means.
A video produced by Pear Video showing the girl playing and lying down in the grave her father prepared for her has gone viral:
The family has also appealed for help on a Chinese fundraising website.
This is a really sad story, and we do hope that little Xin Lei gets treated soon…
What is Thalassaemia
Thalassaemia is an inherited blood disorder which is caused by an abnormal gene. A person with thalassaemia is unable to produce normal, functioning haemoglobin in the blood.
Haemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. When the body is not able to produce normal, functioning haemoglobin, the affected person suffers from anaemia.
Thalassaemia is passed on from parent to child and can affect both males and females. According to KK Hospital, in Singapore, about 3% of the population are carriers of the thalassaemia gene.
Types of Thalassaemia
Thalassaemia can be passed on from one generation to another. Thalassaemia screening involves a simple blood test and is available at all polyclinics.
There are two types of thalassaemia:
- Thalassaemia minor (thalassaemia trait).
- Thalassaemia major.
A person who has inherited one thalassaemia gene is said to have thalassaemia minor (thalassaemia trait).He or she is healthy and leads a normal life. Most people with thalassaemia minor do not know that they have it. However, the affected persons can pass on the abnormal gene to their children.
Thalassaemia major is a severe form of anaemia. The affected person has inherited two thalassaemia genes, one from each parent. He or she may look normal at birth but within 1 – 2 years of life, will suffer from severe anaemia, which leads to poor growth and development as well as a shorter lifespan.
The affected person will need blood transfusion every month to sustain life. At present, a bone marrow transplant is the only hope of possible cure for thalassaemia major.
(Source: AsiaOne, KKH)