Light in the darkness: A teenage donor and her selfless parents

Updated 2017-04-01 13:30:27 CGTN

Guoguo was a lovely teenage girl who loved writing novels and read Harry Potter.

She founded her own literature group, and dreamed of becoming a comic costume designer. Sadly, she died of cerebral apoplexy in 2016, at the age of 13. Organs from her went on to save five people.

Guoguo's parents, Yu Jiang and Guo Shuang, still keep the room of their only daughter unchanged. Half a year after their only daughter suddenly passed away, the pain is still fresh. Yet they decided the share their story with more people. The story of the life and death of their daughter.

Before Guoguo passed away, they never thought of organ donation. Yet when they were approached by doctors about organ donation, “it was a light in desperation,” recalled Yu Jiang, Guoguo's father. “Knowing that our daughter could continue to live in another way in other people's body, the pain was relieved.” They agreed almost at once.

“Whenever thinking that Guoguo is looking at the world through another person's eyes, it is a big consolation for us.” said Guo Shuang, Guogou's mother. “It helped others, and it is truly helped us, like a light in the darkness.”

Five days before Guoguo passed away, she recorded her first online broadcast, the topic was The Brightest Stars in the Sky. “We are all the embodiment of stars in the sky, and the brightest one is ourselves.” These were her last recorded words, and now her dream has come true.

The letter to my younger brother

Three years ago, Wu Yue received a lung transplant operation. She is now breathing with lungs from another young man. She has been writing to her donor ever year, despite not even knowing his name.

She wrote:“ I often imagine what you looked like. Your strong body and dark skin. You would show your white teeth when you smile. I am sorry for the accident you had and hope you didn't suffer too much when you went.”

“This is the second year I accepted your lung. I can go to the gym now. Telling my story is getting easier. Whenever I feel troubled, I would think of the moment I woke up on the operating table. I will treasure your lungs.”

“It is getting hard to move on. For three years, I didn't give up, not because I am strong and brave, but because the present you gave me is too valuable to give up. I hope I will continue to write to you in five years, in ten years.”

China's organ donation system

China outlawed harvesting organs from death row prisoners in 2015. Since then, voluntary organ donation has become the only source of organ transplants. The need for organs is very large in China, yet there is a huge gap between supply and demand.

In Chinese tradition, keeping the body of the deceased complete and intact is very important. Many people are therefore still reluctant to opt in for organ donation.

A group of people has now become a major force for promoting organ donation. They are called organ donation coordinators. Registered under the China Red Cross Society, most of these coordinators are volunteers working in hospitals. Their job is to look for potential donors and keep track of the organ donation process.

Li Qing is an organ donation coordinator in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. Unlike many of her colleagues, she works full time. It is not easy to find a proper donor, nor get the approval from every direct family member, yet she is not discouraged.

“I would first build up relationships with donors' families. I try to understand them, and explain to them the process of organ donations.” said Li.

According to the China Organ Donation Administration Center, There are over 200,000 registered organ donors so far. The number has rapidly increased in the past several years. In 2016, there were over 4,000 successful organ transplant procedures performed, a significant increase on the number in 2015.

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