An eight-year-old boy in China put on 10kg within a short two months so that he would be able to donate bone marrow to save his dying father. His father, Cao Lei, was diagnosed with leukaemia in January.
According to the South China Morning Post, doctors had given him six months to live if he was unable to find a bone marrow transplant. His parent, though both matches, were disqualified as donors due to their old age, and the China Marrow Donor Programme searches turned up with no more luck.
That is, until his son Cao Yinpeng, his only other match, stepped forward. Cao was still a significant amount short of the 45kg required to qualify as a donor so, aided by his family and schoolmates, he set a plan to begin bulking up to save his father’s life.
“Only I can save my father”
The little superhero had to go through a regime of intensive weight gain and exercise to produce enough blood for the transplant. It was important to ensure a balance, as rapid weight gain can lead to serious complications.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” his mother shared. But she knew it was the only way to save her husband. The boy therefore spent the next month and a half working on putting on weight, and achieved his goal by mid-June.
The boy reportedly said that he had to give his father a life, the way his father did for him.
The operation was carried out successfully in early July, and both father and son are recovering well.
A surprise vacation
Cao and his father, both very close, go on holidays every year together. Unfortunately, the trip they were planning to Australia had to be cancelled due to the mounting medical bills.
Ever since the story of Cao Yinpeng’s heroic tale went viral, however, more than 5000 netizens have chipped in to help support the family, as reported by the Straits Times. The $41k raised means that the brave young soldier and his father will be able to go for their well-deserved dream vacation, after all.
What is leukaemia?
Leukaemia is a form of cancer of the blood cells. According to mayoclinic.org, the signs and symptoms vary based on the type of leukaemia, the types also posing higher risks for children and adults respectively. However, here are some general signs and symptoms to look out for.
- Persistent fever, chills, weakness and fatigue
- Rapid and unexpected weight loss
- Swelling in the neck, groin, armpits (due to swelling of lymph nodes)
- Rashes, red dots on skin
- Profuse sweating
Oftentimes, symptoms of leukaemia can be overlooked as people may pass them off as other common illnesses such as colds. However, do speak to a doctor if you have any concerns about suffering these symptoms for abnormally prolonged periods.
Sources: The Straits Times, South China Morning Times, mayoclinic.org
Featured image from The Straits Times
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