Chen Xiaotian was only five years old when he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. The little boy- from Jinzhou city in central China- was admitted to hospital and doctors attempted to treat his illness. Sadly, despite initial signs that the tumour had responded to treatment, at the age of seven the little boy was told he would not survive.
Chen’s 34 year old mother Zhao Lu was diagnosed with kidney disease at the same time that her son was diagnosed with his brain tumour. The pair fought their illnesses together, but as Zhao needed a kidney transplant her situation soon became as desperate as her son’s.
Knowing that Chen’s organs could save her life, doctor’s discussed the possibility of Chen becoming an organ donor for his mother. However, Zhao was distraught and told them that she didn’t want to talk about that possibility: she was sure Chen could still beat his illness despite the fact that it had left him paralysed and bed ridden.
As his mother didn’t want to discuss it, doctors approached Chen’s grandmother Lu Yuanxiu and explained that while her grandson wouldn’t survive, if his mother agreed to let him become an organ donor his kidneys and other organs could save his mother’s life…and the lives of other people too. As Lu was discussing this with her daughter, Chen overheard them and insisted that it was something he wanted to do.
Chen told his mother ‘I want to save you’, then went on to insist that he wanted to donate his kidney to Zhao after he died. Although she was upset, she agreed as she realised that he wasn’t going to change his mind, and that part of him would still live on in her after she died.
When Chen passed away, his mother was rushed into surgery immediately, where doctors held a minute’s silence in honour of her brave son before going on to operate.
Chen’s second kidney was donated to a 21 year old girl and his liver saved the life of a 27 year old man. His mother’s health was in severe decline at the time of the operation, but her son’s brave actions meant that Zhao made a full recovery, was no longer reliant on dialysis and went on to live a full life.
Chen’s death was devastating to his mother and grandmother, but the knowledge that the little boy’s honesty, determination and bravery saved three lives- including his mother’s- created a legacy that will live on forever.
All images via Daily Mail