Comeback kid

Updated: 2012-04-08 08:10

(China Daily)

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Comeback kid

Wang Shouwu helps his son pull on a mask to protect his healing scars. This ritual was repeated for many months each morning after the boy awoke. [Photo/Xinhua]

Still recovering from severe burns more than a year later, the "masked boy" of Shanxi province is taking his first steps back to a normal life.

First came the fire - a blaze of wood and straw that claimed four of his fingers and severely disfigured his face.

Most of the skin on 6-year-old Wang Gengxiang's head was burned off, requiring him to wear a full surgical mask as protection against the sun and infections that could have slammed the brakes on his recovery.

Comeback kid

Wang Gengxiang and his classmates celebrate his return to Mijiazhuang Kindergarten on March 27. [Photo/Xinhua]

Then doctors said that they could not complete the skin-graft surgery until his damaged trachea, or windpipe, was strong enough, according to local media reports. Xiangxiang was not allowed to attend classes at the kindergarten he loved out of fears for his personal safety and concerns about how his presence might affect other children there, according to his father. He was only allowed into the kindergarten to play during media visits.

Because his family has little money, he has received help for his recovery from many people in different walks of life. Mijiazhuang Kindergarten in Fenyang, Shanxi province, has accepted him back with a discount in fees, and this month young Xiangxiang now 7, is back in the classroom, to the delight of his family and friends.

Xinnhua - Reuters

Comeback kid

"Masked Boy" drinks milk on a bed next to his younger brother Wang Gengbao. [Photo/Xinhua]

Comeback kid

During his recovery, Xiangxiang often played by himself in an alley at Mijiazhuang village on the outskirts of Fenyang. Because of the threat of infection, it wasn't thought safe for him to return to his kindergarten. [Photo/Xinhua]

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