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Mercy mission to save brave little boy with cancer
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Two Shanghai locals contacted Xinhua Hospital yesterday and expressed their eagerness to help a five-month-old boy who needs a blood transfusion with the rare blood type A with RH minus.


Officials from Shanghai Blood Administration Office also encourage people with RH minus blood to give donations or join a RH minus club to help others and help each other.


Cheng Dian, a Jiangxi Province native with a cancerous tumor, has to receive a blood transfusion after every chemotherapy session, which reduces his hemoglobin levels.


"He was detected with anemia in an after-delivery checkup and was later confirmed as having cancer," his mother, Luo Hong, said yesterday. "He started to undergo chemotherapy every month at Shanghai's Xinhua Hospital in last October."


She said Cheng normally had to wait one or two days to receive his transfusion, but sometimes had to wait as long as six days.


After the boy's latest chemotherapy session last Wednesday, his mother contacted Xinhua's blood bank to request more blood.


The hospital didn't have storage facilities and had no luck getting blood from the city's blood bank.


As Cheng's condition deteriorated, his mother and a nurse contacted local media with a plea for people with the rare blood to make a donation.


On Tuesday afternoon Shanghai Blood Center gave the hospital 200 milliliters of the rare blood type. Cheng was in stable condition after his transfusion.


"I was so glad to find some volunteers to help my baby," Luo said. "We even saved half of the blood for next month in case there are problems again."


Officials from local blood authorities said the city had made a big effort to collect and store rare blood types but the demand was much bigger than the supply.


"We always try to keep about six liters of RH minus blood as storage for emergency clinical use," said Song Qi, an official from Shanghai Blood Administration Office. "We understand the worry of Cheng Dian's family while waiting for blood. We have to arrange the blood to patients who need it the most."


The frequency of RH minus among Asia is three in every 1,000, while about 15 percent of Westerners have the type.


"The only solution is to have more storage," Song said. "We encourage people to join the volunteer group," Song said.


(Shanghai Daily January 24, 2008)


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