On Aug 1, the day of Shi Xinrui's organ donation, she had just finished an early celebration for her ninth birthday.
With her real birthday less than a month away, Shi's family prepared a cake and bouquet for her and said their last goodbyes.
Under the supervision of human organ donation coordinators from the Zhengzhou Red Cross and Zhengzhou People's Hospital, Shi's parents signed the registration form and agreed to donate their child's organs to patients in need.
In the past 20 months, Shi had been battling diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a rare brain cancer in children with an average survival period of less than a year.
In December 2020, she developed severe symptoms, particularly vomiting, and magnetic resonance imaging scans revealed a brain hemorrhage.
After undergoing surgery, followed by a first course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, her symptoms eased and her condition improved for a time.
However, Shi began to vomit intermittently again in June this year and her condition worsened.
Subsequent MRIs showed her brain cancer had recurred, and she was experiencing increased intracranial pressure.
By the middle of July, Shi was unable to eat and fell into a coma.
During the next two weeks as her sister laid comatose, Shi's brother, Shi Rundong, suggested donating his sister's organs.
Their father, Shi Zhanfu, had thought similarly, as did the girl's mother Fan Fengqin.
The girl's family celebrates her ninth birthday in advance. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]
"When my child was ill, I learned there were many children who were seriously ill like her. At that time, I thought if my child was really gone, I would donate her organs so other children could be saved, but my heart had been unwilling to accept this outcome," Fan said.
Upon making their decision, the family decided to contact the Zhengzhou Red Cross and expressed their willingness to donate.
"We have seen many reports about organ donation. During my sister's illness, strangers donated money for her treatment, many relatives, friends and government departments helped us. We are very grateful," Shi Rundong said. "So we decided when the inevitable comes, we will donate her organs to help more people and to continue passing down this love."
On Aug 1, the 8-year-old passed away after the operation. The organs she donated – liver, corneas and kidneys – are expected to be transplanted into five patients, lighting up their lives and those of their families, according to the organ transplantation center of Zhengzhou People's Hospital in Henan province.
According to Duan Jingna, director of the Publicity Department of Zhengzhou Red Cross, the city of Zhengzhou has so far completed 1,055 human organ donations, bringing hope to more than 3,000 families with patients in need.