A special charitable fund set up following the overwhelming response to a plea for HK$1 million to help a mainland baby receive a life-saving operation may also give hope to other people in need of liver transplants.
The offers poured in after the South China Morning Post reported the plight of Li Liuxuan (pictured) earlier this week. Li was born with a blocked bile duct, but as a mainlander he is not entitled to subsidised medicine in Hong Kong.
The Liver Transplant Charitable Fund, set up yesterday, has started accepting donations to pay for Li's operation. Professor Lo Chung-mau, director of Queen Mary Hospital's Liver Transplant Centre, said any excess cash may be used to help pay for other transplant operations.
Li's parents said they were overwhelmed by the kindness of Hong Kong people but needed time to decide on going ahead with the transplant. They had initially expected treatment other than major transplant surgery, but were told that was the only way to cure the 17-month-old baby's condition.
The parents plan to go home to rural Henan to discuss the transplant with the baby's grandparents. 'There are so many kindhearted people here,' father Li Xianfeng , 32, a worker from Shenzhen, said yesterday. 'It's like all of a sudden we arrived in heaven from hell. We need to go home and calm down a bit.'
As the baby's condition was more stable, he said he and his wife wanted to go home and work on restoring Liuxuan's health with Chinese medicine, so his body would become stronger to undergo the surgery if they decided to do it. Last month, the baby was in hospital in Guangzhou for two weeks due to intestinal bleeding. Lo advised the surgery be done as soon as possible. Liuxuan and his parents came to Hong Kong on Monday. They had travelled across the mainland looking for a cure.
Donation offers have poured in, among them a wealthy reader who offered a substantial sum of money.
'We were very excited but kind of upset at the same time. We don't know what to do,' Li said. They plan to stay in Hong Kong until Sunday when their travel visas expire.
The Post has received 50 inquiries about donations. Many offered money for the surgery and some were willing to pay for the family's expenses in Hong Kong. Donations will be passed on to the HKU fund.
Donations can be sent with a cheque made payable to the University of Hong Kong. Donors need to specify if the donation is only for Li Liuxuan. These would be refunded if Liuxuan did not receive surgery, Lo said. The address is: Department of Surgery, 2/F Professional Block, Queen Mary Hospital, 102 Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong.
new liver cancer cases were reported in Hong Kong in 2008, the latest statistical period
- It is the fourth most common cancer