‘My mother gave birth to me, I owe it to her’: Chinese boy overcomes fear of pain to donate bone marrow

bone marrow
Image: 小宋哥
  • Cao Xuanyi, a 10-year-old boy from China's Anhui Province who “used to be particularly scared of pain,” volunteered to be his mother’s bone marrow donor.
  • “Knowing it was to save his mother, he didn’t say a word,” the boy's father, Cao Song, said.
  • The boy’s mother, Cao Meixia, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in July 2020. Her condition reportedly stabilized following five sessions of chemotherapy, but in December 2021, the family later discovered that she had relapsed.
  • The safest option the woman could purportedly take is a bone marrow transplant, but the woman’s brother was not a match. The only person who could donate is her son.
  • Doctors reportedly had to draw 30 vials of the boy’s blood to see if he was a suitable donor for his mother.
  • “Because my mother gave birth to me, I owe it to her,” the boy said. “I want my mom to accompany me home so that I can be happy every day.”

A 10-year-old boy from China who “used to be particularly scared of pain” has voluntarily undergone a grueling bone marrow matching test and given over two dozen vials of his blood to test his compatibility with his sick mother.

Cao Xuanyi, who lives with his family in Anhui Province, reportedly traveled over 400 kilometers (248.55 miles) to the city of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province with his grandfather for further medical testing on March 7 after his first sample revealed him to be a potential bone marrow donor for his mother.

He used to be particularly scared of pain, but this time, knowing it was to save his mother, he didn’t say a word,” the boy’s father, Cao Song, 33, told South China Morning Post.

Doctors purportedly drew 30 vials of the boy’s blood to check if he would be a suitable donor for Cao Meixia, 33, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in July 2020. The results showed he was a perfect match, and the date of her operation will be determined after her doctor reviews the result of her chemotherapy.

The family had to close down their small clothes business last year following the diagnosis. Before Song and Meixia sought medical treatment in Suzhou, they left Xuanyi and his 3-year-old brother with their grandmother.

We’ve only gone home to see the children six or seven times in almost three years,” Song said.

Meixia’s condition initially stabilized after she went through five rounds of chemotherapy, but they soon discovered her cancer had relapsed following a medical examination in December 2021.

The safest option the woman could purportedly take is a bone marrow transplant, but her brother was not a match. The only person who could donate is her son.

If there was another option, I would not ask my child to do this,” the father told the Morning Post. “It’s heartbreaking for me because my child is so young and skinny, even though the doctor assured me that it wouldn’t impact his health.”

A video showing the boy’s bravery which was posted on Song’s Douyin has received over 23,700 likes at the time of this writing.

Because my mother gave birth to me, I owe it to her,” Xuanyi, who is now in their home waiting for the doctors’ call about the operation, said. “I want my mom to accompany me home so that I can be happy every day.”

Meixia has completed her ninth chemotherapy session so far, but doctors still  need to review the effectiveness of the treatment in eight to nine days before proceeding with the bone marrow transplant.

A similar story took place in Huixian, Henan Province, in 2019 when an 11-year-old boy made it his mission to gain 15 kilograms (33 pounds) so that he could donate his bone marrow to his father.

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