Five of the children who received free heart operations.(Courtesy of the children's hospital)
Eleven children from southwest China with congenital heart diseases are being treated at the Children's Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai, with operations and all travel expenses covered by good Samaritans.
This charity offering, led by the Shanghai Volunteers Foundation and the hospital, is one of more than 300 being held and planned around the city for this year's "Greatest Love under the Sky" — the month-long charity program involving all charities in the city, which began yesterday.
Lasting until January 7, the 23rd annual program will include monetary and material help for people in need, including free voluntary services and donation-gathering as well as media campaigns to promote charity.
The Shanghai Charity Foundation said 110 million yuan (US million) has been pledged so far in money and material — about 10 million yuan more than last year.
Liu Ying, vice secretary-general of the Shanghai Volunteers Foundation, said her organization spotted the need to offer children in mountainous Shangri-la City, Yunnan Province, check-ups and treatment for heart problems during a visit in July.
"The local government told us that 10 percent of the 30,000 children up to 14 years old there were given a check-up in 2014 and that was the only instance so far," she said. "Statistics show that the chance of children suffering from congenital heart diseases in plateau areas like Shangri-la is 7-8 in 1,000 — double that for children living on the plains." Doctors examined 3,712 children over two days in September.
It's estimated that more than 160,000 people will benefit from the charity campaign.