Podcast: Story in the Story (7/12/2018 Thu.)
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From People’s Daily app.

And this is Story in the Story.

Every year in China, roughly 15,000 to 20,000 children are diagnosed with leukemia, which is a form of cancer caused by the overproduction of damaged white blood cells. The highest rate of childhood leukemia in China can be found in 5 to 10-year-olds. This figure accounts for around 70 percent of all childhood leukemia cases in the country.

In addition to enduring the pain of bone marrow treatments and chemotherapy, children with leukemia also have compromised immune systems, leaving them at risk for infection. The disease also forces them to be confined to hospital wards or their homes, isolating them from the outside world and ensuring that they do not have a normal life.

Fortunately, the chances of surviving leukemia are high if treated properly. Out of all childhood leukemia cases, roughly 80 percent of children survive.

The treatment usually lasts two to three years. 

Today’s story in the story will take a look at how Chinese society helps children with leukemia.

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(Photo: Xinhua)

In Beijing, a group of young children wearing medical masks, gathered in a classroom reeks of the smell of chemical disinfectant. Most of them have only a few strands of hair, while their less fortunate peers are completely bald. They all suffer from leukemia.

To help these children continuing their studies, the Beijing New Sunshine Charity Foundation worked with Peking University First Hospital and has been running a tuition free school since 2012.

Liu Zhengchen, founder of the charity, was diagnosed with leukemia as a college student.

The classroom, a public space in a corridor, welcomes children of all ages. The school schedules a full-time teacher and other student volunteers giving to classes every week, each lasting 90 minutes. Subjects include Chinese, Math, English, Arts, Health, and Science. Yet Liu and the teachers soon realized that teaching these children are very different than traditional students. 

Some close themselves off and rarely speak, others are restless and cry often. Liu insists on treating them like normal kids, “We want to help them fight the disease, but we also expect them to have the ability to deal with normal life” he said.  

Hundreds of miles away from Beijing, Children’s Hospital of Shanghai and a local beauty association have held initiatives to encourage citizens to donate their hair for children suffering from leukemia.

"It will be an efficient approach to make sure wigmakers always have enough real hair to manufacture wigs for children," said Niu Jun, director of the social work department at the hospital.

The hospital launched the hair donation program three years ago for young patients with leukemia. Recently, about 100 volunteers consisting of college and high school students , donated their hair following the call to action.

"A wig made of real hair costs up to 10,000 yuan ($1,500). The program is simply a call to all people and sectors to help offer free wigs to children who are afraid of playing with others due to hair loss," Niu said.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Terry Guanlin Li, Lance Crayon, and Ziyi Zeng. Music by: bensound.com. Text from People's Daily, Global Times, and China Daily.)