Saved by the power of social networking

Updated: 2012-03-07 10:56

By Zhang Yue (China Daily)

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A group of blood donors in Anhui province has voluntarily donated blood to a 4-year-old after being connected by social networking.

Wang Junyao, from Anhui's Fuyang city, who has type-A blood, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia in March 2009 and required blood cell transfusions three times a month to stay alive.

The boy's farming family went to the provincial capital Hefei in 2009 to get medical treatment, and Wang has since been hospitalized more than 70 times.

"Every time we go to the hospital, we feared the hospital's blood bank may have run out of type-A blood."

This level of care cost more than the family could afford. So, in November 2011, Wang's 30-year-old father, Wang Yonggan, turned to Sina Weibo's micro blog service with the help of a Shanghai reporter.

Blogger Bi Wenshuang, a 29-year-old college teacher in Hefei, also reached out to help.

"I saw the kid's father crying out for help on Sina Weibo What they needed was simple: money or blood."

Bi reposted Wang Yonggan's tweet, and a friend replied 10 minutes later - the first of many responses.

This was when Bi noticed the hospital Wang Junyao was staying at was just 15 minutes away. He decided to go to the hospital the next day with his friend, as both have type-A blood.

But regulations at No 2 Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University stipulates that donated blood should first go into the hospital's blood bank, which takes a few days.

As more people joined the campaign, Bi came up with a new idea - he started a micro blog entitled "Blood donating with a loving heart" the following week.

It had 252 followers at the beginning of March.

"The followers have all volunteered to donate blood to Wang Junyao," Bi says.

"The hospital has agreed that once we donate our blood, it will be used for Wang Junyao and nobody else."

Wang Yonggan, who used to donate his own blood to his son, says: "I knew the Internet could help with cash donations. But I never imagined my son would be saved by the blood of so many strangers."

Bi says: "This is the most wonderful gift for the family and for every one of us. We don't expect any payback by giving our blood. There is no better reward than a child's life."

Wang Junyao is set to go to Shanghai for a bone marrow transplant surgery later this month.

If the surgery goes well, the boy will no longer need to go to the hospital for blood transfusions and will be able to live a normal life.

"It is the blood of hundreds that has kept my son alive until today," the father says.