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A brave 12-year-old boy in the Guizhou province of China is struggling to support his ill mother, who is diagnosed as having a rare neuromuscular disease.
His mother was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that is characterized by fluctuating weakness of muscles and fatigue. The muscle groups affected are responsible for limb movements and breathing.
Zhiwei has taken on much of the family’s responsibilities and even sought out better medical care for his mom by moving her to Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province. He has also scoured over traditional Chinese medicine books in search for a cure and even prepared his mother medicinal drinks, all to no avail.
Now, as medical bills pile up, Zhiwei is low on hope and money. They have used up their entire family’s savings of 100,000 yuan ($16,100) for hospital bills.
Low on funds and facing pressure from the hospital for them to leave, Zhiwei feels helpless. He is searching for jobs that will allow him to earn money to pay for his mother’s hospital expenses, but employers are wary of hiring someone so young.
Zhiwei tells reporters that he is unable to sleep at night knowing that his mother is in pain. He is afraid that if he falls asleep, his mom might never wake up again if he isn’t there to help her.