Hangzhou resident Xu Aifei, 28, became an internet celebrity after donating stem cells and writing about her experience online, while also giving other donators peace of mind, the Beijing News reported on Sunday.
Xu donated stem cells on September 12, 2017, and recorded her experience on her Weibo microblogging account on Saturday. The post has garnered over 120,000 likes and nearly 40,000 reposts.
"Stem cell donation is a once in a lifetime experience that few people have," she said.
Xu has been donating blood since she was in senior high school, having donated a total of 3,200 ml.
In 2009, while donating blood, she read a leaflet on stem cell donation and learned that it is not as painful as she had thought, so she decided to do it.
Later that year, she joined the Chinese Marrow Donor Program. On May 7, 2017, she received a call and was told that her stem cells matched a patient.
Without hesitation, Xu agreed to donate her stem cells to save a 15-year-old boy with leukemia.
Xu wrote on her Weibo account that over the course of four days, she received eight injections in her arm, joking that it looked like a hornet's nest. However, she also wrote that from the perspective of patients, this is a normal situation.
Her stem cells were collected both in the morning and the evening for four days. When asked how her body reacted, Xu said felt pain in her waist, similar to the pain during her monthly period, but that it was far from insufferable.
Her experience won her the online nickname 'the most beautiful donator,' which she said she didn't expect. Xu said she recorded the experience as something to look back on and to tell other prospective donators that the process is not that bad.
There are only about 2.3 million donators in the Chinese Marrow Donor Program, far less than what is required. The match rate is also low, with only around 6,000 successful matches nationwide up till now. Many patients die while waiting for a match.
Some donators regret making the decision and refuse to continue with the process due to the fear of pain, which causes sadness for the patient's family. In fact, the pain is not as much as people expect to endure.
Xu hopes that her experience can help promote stem cell donation in China and would like to be an ambassador for the cause.