“Papa, I am very sad to see you secretly crying. I know you have used up all of your money for my treatment. Mama has left because of me. I was thinking that if I give up treatment, Mama will come back and you will live a happy life as before. Can we go home together?”
Zhang Jiaye, 7, wrote those words to her father in a note that has elicited tremendous sympathy from Chinese citizens.
The child and her father, Zhang Mingliang, lived a normal life in Suibin County, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province. However, their circumstances took a wild turn when she was diagnosed with leukemia on May 14, 2016. The high treatment costs eventually put a tremendous financial strain on the family.
After a year of treatment, which included 18 sessions of chemotherapy, the medical bill amounted to 590,000 yuan (90,000 US dollars), plunging the family into debt. The little girl’s mother left in July 2017 due to the mounting pressure, and hasn’t been heard from since.
“I feel like the end of the world,” the father said. “I can see she did the bone surgery. The medullo-puncture needle marks in her waist and her bone stab my heart as well.”
But suffering can lead one to cherish life. Although the girl is only seven, she has thought about life and death, and is able to show empathy for her father. She told him that the surgery didn’t hurt because she could not bear to see him crying in the corner.
The girl planned to give up treatment because she could sense how powerless and in pain her father was, so if her death can restore the family’s happiness – ridding her dad of his suffering and bringing her mother back – then all would seem worth it.
Zhang Jiaye’s story of selflessness was eventually posted on the Internet and went viral. Chinese netizens donated about 600,000 yuan (90,909 US dollars) on that very day.
One social media user, @wangshengping, wrote, “I am crying when I read the story. Please tell me the bank account number. As a general worker and I have two cute daughters, maybe I won’t be able to donate too much money, but I believe in the power of society. Let’s start doing it!”
The father has expressed appreciation for the netizens’ generous support, and stated that he will never give up on her treatment.