A 10-year-old Chinese girl in Zibo, a city in China’s Shandong Province, has been selling sweet potatoes on the street to help pay for her 2-year-old sister’s cancer treatment.
Nicknamed “Little Mei,” the 10-year-old can be seen in Sohu News footage posted to Weibo wearing her school uniform while completing her homework and sitting outside by a bundle of sweet potatoes marked for sale.
Little Mei has been staying in Zibo with her grandmother while her parents have been in Jinan to care for her cancer-stricken sister Qiqi since May 2021.
Little Mei’s mother, Li Ling, told South China Morning Post that her husband, Wei Shubin, had quit his job to care for Qiqi, and, as a result, the family lost their only source of income. The family has since gone into debt while managing to crowdfund $8,250 but still do not have enough to pay for all of Qiqi’s cancer treatments.
Seeing her family struggle, Little Mei made the decision to sell sweet potatoes after school to help ease her family’s financial burden.
“My mum and dad are in Jinan taking care of my little sister, and I come here to sell sweet potatoes to get some money,” she told Sohu News. “It’s 12 yuan (approximately $1.90) per bag, and on good days, I sell more than 10 bags.”
Little Mei’s 5-year-old sister, nicknamed “Little Tong,” tags along with her sister on some nights to thank customers who stop to buy sweet potatoes.
Li was unaware that her older daughter was selling sweet potatoes until she received a phone call from a customer requesting a large order of them. Although she had been calling Little Mei and her grandmother “every two or three days,” neither had mentioned her daughter was selling the starching vegetables.
Although Li is proud to see her daughter’s kind actions, she also felt heartbroken that Little Mei was selling in cold temperatures during the winter.
Little Mei often calls her parents asking when they will return home. Li says that she feels guilty about the uncertainty of when they will be able to return as a result of Qiqi’s cancer treatments.
“When your sister gets better, mum will go back to see you,” Li tells Little Mei in the Sohu News clip. “Eat well and dress warmly when it’s cold.”
Qiqi was diagnosed with cancer last May and is currently battling leukemia. The 2-year-old is in critical condition, suffering heart damage as a result of chemotherapy.
A Gongyi fundraiser
for Qiqi was started by the Inner Mongolia ChiFeng Charity Association. It has raised nearly 58,ooo yuan (approximately $9,100) as of this writing.