Sometimes a story comes along that has Hongkongers digging in their pockets to do whatever they can to help The most successful appeal the South China Morning Post has held for a single recipient was for Lau Fu-in, a two-and-half-year-old girl whose days were numbered because her family could not afford a liver transplant for her. The story began when Post cadet reporter Fiona Chan returned to the office one day in September 1991, close to tears. She had been to a press conference at the Queen Mary Hospital detailing the needs of 80 patients - 10 of them children - who needed liver transplants. The most serious case was that of Fu-in, who had already lived longer than doctors had given her. Fu-in's parents were told a fortnight after her birth that their baby had been diagnosed with biliary atresia, a blockage of the bile duct which hinders the liver's ability to clean blood. She had undergone two unsuccessful operations in Hong Kong, where organ donors were difficult to find. The child's only hope was life-saving transplantation at the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. She was sickly and weighed only 9kg. Her parents had no way of coming up with the $700,000 plus travel and accommodation expenses that the operation would cost. The Post accompanied Fiona's story about Fu-in's plight with an appeal to readers to donate money. Within a month, the little girl and her mother were en route to Australia. Post readers had given $2,133,526. Fu-in underwent 10 hours of transplant surgery almost four months to the day after her story appeared in the Post. The operation was a success. The generosity of readers paid handsome dividends; two trust funds were established with the $1.2 million that remained after all expenses had been covered. The Lau Fu-in Trust Fund will cover all her medical and educational expenses until she reaches 25, when the money will become hers, while the South China Morning Post Charitable Fund was set up to help other underpriveleged children in Hong Kong. Fu-in's parents, Lau Choi-hoi and Lau Chan Miu-ying, were happy to be able to help other children. The Post's editor at the time, Phillip Crawley, said: 'Fu-in's parents have been marvellous throughout and are happy that not only has their little daughter's life been saved, but other children will also benefit. We have put aside enough money to take care of her future, although we hope she never needs it for medical treatment.' In a fitting epilogue, Crawley, himself a father, fought hard to swallow the lump in his throat when the happy, healthy little girl called him 'uncle', reached up, hugged and then kissed him following her return to Hong Kong in 1992. She and her and parents were at the Post offices to thank him, the Post's staff and its readers. A year later, Post readers came up trumps again to fly three-year-old Yau Tsz-ying to Nagoya in Japan to receive vital treatment for a potentially fatal malformation of the blood vessels in her brain. Tsz-ying needed $116,000 plus accommodation expenses. An anonymous donor came up with the full amount and a businessman donated a further $150,000. The total amount received added up to $300,000, almost three times the sum eventually spent. In addition, the Cathay Pacific Charitable Travel Fund provided four return flights to Nagoya - for Tsz-ying, her parents and her doctor.