There are some people in this world who take every opportunity, every chance, and even in the face of overwhelming odds, never give up. They persevere and endure, and serve as an inspiration to us all.
11-year-old Shi Luyao was diagnosed in 2013 with acute lymphocytic leukemia, which could only be cured through long-term chemotherapy, and then monitored through bone marrow biopsy.
The treatment was only partially covered by insurance because it was not undergone in his home province of Guizhou, but in Anhui where his father had moved for work after Luyao’s mom walked out on the family when he was only two years old. Over a period of two years, his father was forced to borrow 200,000 RMB to afford to pay for Luyao’s medical treatment, NetEase reports.
Funding cancer treatment in China is not an easy thing, particularly when you’re not born wealthy. A year ago, a father whose son was suffering from leukemia donned a horse mask and offered rides to raise money to pay the medical bills. Two years ago, a leukemia patient knelt down in front of a company building in Sichuan with fellow students and friends to beg the director to loan him money.
After undergoing chemotherapy, Luyao returned to his hometown in Guizhou in August of last year when his condition improved.
It’s heartbreaking to see someone so young with his whole life in front of him battling leukemia, but it’s something else to see him put on a brave face, fight the illness, and then go further.
Following his return home, Luyao had to undergo irregular bone marrow biopsies to monitor his condition at a hospital in Kunming, 400 kilometers away — a journey he always took by himself. From his hometown, he would take a bus to Liupanshui city, before transferring onto a train bound for Kunming, the capital of neighboring Yunnan province.
Speaking to reporters, Luyao painfully recalled how he would have to wait for six hours for the train to arrive, and how he had to frequently stop himself from crying because he didn’t want other people to know that he was alone.
The painful procedure of a bone marrow biopsy would usually warrant a couple of hours spent relaxing in bed, as per his doctor’s recommendation, but instead the young boy always starts his journey home immediately after the procedure is completed so that he can race back home to attend school, China Daily reports.
Upon his return to Liupanshui, he would wait for daybreak before being able to catch the first bus back to his hometown. “I can’t remember how many times I saw the sunrise at the railway station,” Luyao said as he burst into tears.
But, for Luyao, the torturous trip is all worth it when he gets back to his hometown in time for classes. During his chemotherapy, he was forced to leave school for two years. Any ordinary kid would rejoice at such an opportunity, but Luyao is extraordinary. He borrowed books to review previously covered content, as well as learn upcoming topics. Even in facing the hardest battle of his life, Luyao never stopped learning.
He asked his grandparents to send him back to school once his condition improved. Since then he has maintained a high level of academic performance and hands in his homework every time he returns from the hospital, recalled his Chinese language teacher, Peng Lu.
Upon learning about his illness, Peng was surprised and sympathetic, arranging four classmates to study with and take care of Luyao. The boy’s doctors have said that while this treatment will continue for another two years, there will likely be no need for a bone marrow transplant.
Seeing someone go through so much at such a young age reminds us all of the people who face hardships everyday, but have the willpower to push forwad. It’s an inspirational story, one that represents humanity’s ability to face fear, loneliness and death all at once, and win.
By Christopher Shi
[Images via NetEase]