Boy, 11, travels 400km alone for leukaemia care

PAINFUL JOURNEY: Luyao tears up when he speaks about his experience of travelling alone for his leukaemia treatment.


    Oct 03, 2016

    Boy, 11, travels 400km alone for leukaemia care


    IN ORDER not to miss any class and to save cost, an 11-year-old boy overcame the pain of leukaemia treatment and travelled hundreds of kilometres between his home and a hospital within a day for one year, reported Guiyang Evening Daily last week.

    Shi Luyao is from a village in Liupanshui in Guizhou province. His mother left him when he was two years old because of poverty.

    He has lived with his grandparents since. When he was in third grade, his father took him to Anhui province where he was working.

    In 2013, Luyao had a high fever. A check-up showed he had acute lymphocytic leukaemia.

    He had to receive long-term chemotherapy. As the hospital was not in his home province, only 30 per cent of the bill was covered by insurance.

    Luyao's father was forced to borrow 200,000 yuan (S$41,000) over two years.

    In the later stage of the chemotherapy, he was cared for by his grandma.

    His father had to work to afford the treatment.

    In August last year, Luyao was sent back to his hometown after his condition got better.

    But he had to have bone marrow biopsy to monitor the situation.

    To ease the financial burden, he started going to hospital in Kunming, more than 400km away, by himself.

    He travelled to Liupanshui city by bus and then took a train to Kunming.

    On his first trip, he waited for six hours at the railway station to catch the train to Kunming at 3am.

    Each time the bone marrow biopsy was finished, he was supposed to lie on a bed for several hours before standing up.

    But he got up soon after the therapy and went back home overnight because he did not want to miss a single class.

    When Luyao arrived at Liupanshui, he waited at the railway station before taking a homebound bus.

    He had to quit school for two years due to the leukaemia. But he borrowed books to go over the lessons he had learnt before he was ill and the new courses for fifth grade.

    After his condition was under control, he returned to school. "He looked very down and lonely but he scored surprisingly good grades," said his teacher Peng Lu.

    His grades have remained at the top of the class since he went back to school.

    His doctor said treatment has entered the later stage and he can recover without having a bone marrow transplant.

    The treatment is expected to take another two years.