Plight of sick mainland boy touches more hearts

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 October, 2011, 12:00am


As donation offers continue to pour in to help mainland infant Li Liuxuan get a life-saving liver transplant, 23 pupils at an international school have found their own way to show they care.

After hearing of his plight in class at the Delia School of Canada, each pupil drew a card and signed it - but only after one had been dissuaded from offering to donate his own liver.

'I read the story to the class on Wednesday and they kept asking 'what could we do?'' said grade five teacher Bridgette Sullivan, 26, who delivered the cards to the family yesterday along with some toys.

The pupils came up with many ideas, she said, with one asking about holding a fund-raiser and one wanting to donate his liver.

'I said, 'You can't do that, you're only 10',' Sullivan said. Messages the students wrote in their cards included 'We love you' and 'We miss you more than anyone else in the class'.

Li's parents thanked the teachers and pupils and said they would display the cards in Liuxuan's room when they returned to their home in Henan .

Sullivan said reading of the boy's story reminded her of how people tend to take good health for granted. 'I told them how lucky they are,' she said referring to her pupils.

The parents also received a donation yesterday from a South China Morning Post reader to cover their transport and medication expenses for the 17-month-old boy. It came with a letter offering words of encouragement for the parents and good health wishes for little Liuxuan.

'Hong Kong people are really friendly,' said 30-year-old mother Liu Jianying. 'Little Gengen waves to strangers in the streets here. He's never done that on the mainland before.'

She explained that after his second operation in July last year, when his life was in danger, she gave him the nickname 'Gen', meaning 'roots' in Chinese, so living with the strength of grass roots.

The boy's father, Li Xianfeng, 32, said he never imagined his family would be made to feel so welcome by Hongkongers.

'We had thought, maybe the hospital will turn us away. We had planned to sleep on the streets as hotels were so expensive.'

They arrived in Hong Kong on Monday on a bus from Shenzhen.

'We asked them which place was near Queen Mary Hospital, and they told us Causeway Bay. So that was where we got off and found a guest house,' he said.

They will be returning to Henan tomorrow to discuss the situation with relatives and decide whether to go ahead with the transplant surgery to correct Liuxuan's blocked bile duct.

The father said they had to consider whether their son's weakened body could withstand such major surgery.

Donations for Li Liuxuan's medical expenses in Hong Kong can be sent to the Liver Transplant Charitable Fund with a cheque made payable to the University of Hong Kong.

Donors need to specify if the donation is only for Li Liuxuan. The address is: Department of Surgery, 2/F Professional Block, Queen Mary Hospital, 102 Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong.