A desperate father who tried to kill himself and sell his organs because he thought it was the only way to pay for his cancer-stricken son's treatment was smiling again yesterday.
Sun Jing gulped down 48 sleeping pills on Monday and wrote in his intended suicide note: "I want to save my son. He is suffering from blood cancer and needs a lot of money for treatment. I'm willing to donate all my organs to people who need them only if they can help."
Fortunately, Sun's condition was discovered just five minutes after he swallowed the pills. He was rushed to hospital and survived the suicide attempt.
His plight moved many people after it was reported in Beijing News on Tuesday; and he has received 60,000 yuan (US$7,300) in donations over the past couple of days.
"I don't know how to express my gratitude to these kind people," Sun said yesterday in Beijing as he fought back tears of joy.
"I'm going to take Liang Liang (his son's nickname) to a hospital tomorrow for a thorough check," Sun said. His 14-year-old son Haidong was diagnosed with leukaemia two years ago.
The 41-year-old farmer is a native of east China's Shandong Province, where he used to live with Liang Liang, his wife and their daughter in a five-square-meter rented room in Yantai. The couple earned around 1,000 yuan (US$120) a month.
"Liang Liang's illness almost destroyed our family," said Sun. "My daughter had to quit school to work and earn money."
Liang Liang's illness ate up the savings of the family as well as the donations raised in Yantai.
"We had no way out," said the father. "I cannot steal or rob. I thought donating my organs was the only way I could raise money."
The boy listened pensively to the tragic tale as he lay on his hotel bed. He has jotted down information of the donors in a small notebook and says he will repay them for their generous help.
There are more than 4 million people suffering leukaemia in China, according to statistics. Most cannot afford the high cost of medical treatment, which is usually more than 200,000 yuan (US$24,000) per patient.
(China Daily June 30, 2005)