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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Joy and then despair for boys' family

By Zhao Wen (Shanghai Daily)

16:28, November 21, 2011

Xu Ping'an at the family home in Yangpu District. The family has been plunged into financial crisis by their sons' conditions.
Photo by Zuo Yan

Two months ago, 36-year-old Xu Xuebing was overjoyed at the birth of his second son.

In addition to his delight at the addition to the family, Xu was hoping blood stem cells from the umbilical cord could help save the baby's eight-year-old brother, who suffers from leukemia.

But Xu's joy was short-lived when his younger son was discovered to have congenital heart disease.

Now he is seeking help from the public to save his ill children, Xu Ping'an and Xu Pingkang.

The brothers' lives are in the balance as the family cannot afford the huge medical bills they face. Over the past four years, they have spent all their savings and borrowed to treat the elder boy, Ping'an.

Xu said he changed his first son's name to Ping'an - which means "safe and sound" in Chinese - hoping it would bring good luck to the child, and prayed for him after the boy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in February 2007.

Ping'an has spent most of his childhood at home or at hospital for blood tests, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and transfusions.

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