Xie Aizhu's world came crashing down when her only daughter was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago.
The 45-year-old factory worker from Yuyao, Zhejiang Province, spent more than 300,000 yuan ($40,400) in two years on treatment for the girl, whom she single-handedly brought up after getting divorced more than a decade ago.
Xie borrowed from family and friends, and took whatever handouts came her way.
But it was not enough.
"Mom, you've done your best but if there is no more money, I will accept my fate," Jin Jingjing, 20, told her mother.
Xie refused to give up her daughter to the blood disease.
After all, 60 migrant workers in Xie's factory donated more than 10,000 yuan in one day when they found out about her daughter's illness. Last April, when Xie needed more cash, her workmates donated another 4,000 yuan.
Even the kindergarten her daughter used to attend pitched in.
It was in a stranger, however, that Xie found one of the most generous donors.
Xu Xueying, a temporary worker from nearby Anhui Province who survives on a 1,000 yuan monthly wage, sent about 10 times that amount to Xie.
Xu said she and her taxi driver husband donated 5,000 yuan while her daughter - also a migrant worker - sent the other 5,000 yuan.
Xu has been known never to buy things that cost more than 50 yuan.
"She needs to save money for a new house in her hometown. It is really not easy for Xu to donate 10,000 yuan," said one colleague.
But Xu was resolute: "People in Ningbo are willing to aid others. We are making money in Ningbo, and when it comes to the needy, I think it is my duty to help them."
Together with the rest of the help Xie has received, Xu's contributions have enabled Jin to survive the disease and she is now out of danger, the Dahe Daily reported.
Doctors say the number of Jin's blood cells has reached normal levels and, if she receives suitable transplants, she could see a full recovery.
It is something the girl, now back at home from hospital, looks forward to every day.
(China Daily November 22, 2007)