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11-year-old boy commutes between provinces solo for leukemia treatment

By Zhang Tianrui (People's Daily Online)    16:59, September 28, 2016

In order to receive his regular leukemia treatments, Shi Luyao has independently commuted between two provinces 10 times over the past year.

In November 2013, Shi, now 11, was diagnosed with leukemia at Kuming Children’s hospital in Yunnan province after being brought in for a high fever. Shi had to leave school for his treatments, which also saddled his family with a large amount of debt. Although relatives and friends tried to assist him, Shi’s father had still accumulated debts of over 200,000 RMB by the autumn of 2015.

Shi was born in a village in Guizhou province. At the age of 2, Shi’s mother abandoned the family. In order to make a living, Shi’s father left home to work in Anhui province; Shi moved in with his grandparents.

Since Shi’s illness was under control in August 2015, the boy was able to come home and make some important decisions. Most importantly, he had to find a way to both continue his schooling and also get to the hospital where he received his treatments, which is nearly 400 kilometers from his hometown. Shi decided that he would begin making the hospital trips alone in order to lighten the economic burden on his father.

For his trips to Kunming, Shi first takes a bus to the county train station. He then waits six hours, as the train doesn’t arrive until 3 a.m. Fortunately, it only takes half an hour to get from the station in Kunming to the hospital.

After undergoing bone marrow puncture, Shi is required to lie flat for six hours. However, he usually leaves earlier – despite the pain – in order to catch the overnight train. When he arrives at his hometown train station early in the morning, Shi waits several hours to get on the earliest bus back home.

Shi enrolled for his fifth year at Huale Primary School in September 2015. During his two-year absence, Shi kept studying and reviewing what he had learned. He also borrowed textbooks from his cousin. Shi now ranks the first in his class, and he always makes sure to hand in his homework before he leaves for treatment.

Shi’s recovery is expected to take two years without a bone marrow transplant, according to his doctor. Shi’s father is thrilled that his son will recover, but the cost of the treatment continues to be a huge pressure. Recently, funds were raised in Shi’s hometown to help his family, and the local government also promised to give the boy financial assistance. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhang Tianrui, Bianji)

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