An 11-year-old boy from China has dedicated his childhood to earning money for his younger brother’s medical bills by selling spring onions every morning before he goes to school.
Yan Yihang, who lives in a small city in Henan province, wakes up as early as 6 a.m. every day to walk to town and sell onions.
All the money he earns from sales goes to helping his 7-year-old brother, Yan Ce, who suffers from a rare blood disease called aplastic anemia, Daily Mail reported.
“I want to save my brother. I want to go to school with him together,” Yan told local reporters. “These vegetables are grown by my family and I want to earn some money by selling them.”
However, when asked why he didn’t ask for donations, the fifth-grade student said he wanted to earn money from his own efforts.
Yan’s younger brother was diagnosed in 2015 and needed a life-saving bone marrow transplant. His family took the boy to the capital’s hospital as his father continued to work in another city as a laborer to pay for the growing medical bills.
His grandparents, who are both farmers, reportedly borrowed money from their friends and relatives to help pay the bill which has reached more than 700,000 yuan ($98,756) in the span of four years.
Aplastic anemia is a condition in which the body stops producing enough blood cells, according to the Mayo Clinic. Doctors would usually recommend a bone marrow transplant in order for the body to start the production of blood cells.
Yan stepped up to be a donor as he was a match for his younger brother and the operation was performed in June 2018.
“It was a little painful, but I was not scared. Because only through this could my brother recover quickly,” Yan told Pear Video as he recalls the experience he had with the operation.
The boy wakes up at five in the morning every day to pluck spring onions and go to the market to sell his harvest before going to school. His vegetable stall was previously owned by his 66-year-old grandmother before he took over when she had a stroke in March and had to be hospitalized.
He sells spring onions one yuan ($0.14) per bunch through their self-service stall. However, business doesn’t always go well for Yan as he told reporters he once earned 50 yuan ($7.50) in a day, but other times, he sold nothing.
Yan managed to earn 1,182 yuan ($166) with four months of hard work.
“My son has grown up and knows how to share responsibility with me,” his mother, who was surprised when he pulled out his banknotes from his backpack, said as her eyes started to tear up.
Images Screenshot via Pear Video