The parents of a four-year-old boy who was diagnosed with a rare illness causing his stomach to swell to the size of a basketball are now seeking medical treatment to cure him.
Young Niu Shaolong is from a small village in Zuoquan county, Shanxi. His parents, both farmers, have been doing everything they can to give the boy the help he needs.
The circumference of the boy’s waist is about 144 cm (compared his head’s 84 cm). The extreme swelling causes little Shaolong to struggle through daily activities and he experiences shortness of breath even when walking.
At Beijing’s 301 Hospital, Shaolong was diagnosed with Gaucher’s disease, a rare inherited disorder which affects patient’s organs and tissues. The disorder is characterized by bruising, fatigue, anaemia, low blood platelets and enlargement of the liver and spleen.
It is said that the disease is caused by a hereditary deficiency of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase, which causes the enlargement of organs like the liver and spleen. This leads to the manifestation of many other complications, and in severe case, even death.
Due to the extreme swelling, Shaolong has to sleep with his belly facing the mattress, and it pains his parents to see their child suffering from this rare illness.
At present, the treatment for Gaucher’s disease is an injection of a drug called ‘imiglucerase’ which costs about 20,000 RMB for a small vial.
In order to continue treating him, the couple had to sell all their valuables and mortgage off their house. Fortunately, many people have made donations to the family after learning of Shaolong’s illness through local media.
Shaolong’s condition has improved after three phases of treatment, but it is going to cost the family a lot more than they can afford if they are to fully cure the illness.
By Crystal Lau
[Images via Tencent]