Friday, 13. December 2013 - 14:12
02. 05. 12. - 13:00
A Chinese boy living behind a hard shell of scar tissue after he was horrifically burned is to get treatment to rebuild his face, after donations flooded in from all over the world.
Surgery is expected to start in the next couple of weeks and the brave youngster was this week given his first trip out of his village for a reason other than going to hospital - when he was treated to a trip to a fun fair.
The delighted parents of Wang Xiaopeng, 5, confirmed that they have now been given enough money to restart the surgery necessary to rebuild their sons face.
The youngster was left without hair, lips, eyelids, and toes after the accident in November 2010. His injuries also make it difficult for him to see, while all of his fingers were amputated from the second joint.
Xiaopeng, 6, lives in a dry and arid part of Yinchuan in China's Ningxia Province. His village, Tangnan, is surrounded by desert and when the youngster started playing with a lighter among tinder dry corn stalks – he was swiftly engulfed in flames.
His parents rushed him to Ningxia Medical University General Hospital where he managed to pull through. However, he was left severely disfigured and the couple could only afford to pay for three months of treatment for their beloved son.
They spent their life savings and sold their house and land to cover the 150,000 yuan bill - equivalent to around 15,000 GBP. They now live on a tiny plot of 0.2 hectares. The region often has sandstorms at this time of year and the tiny property in which they live has only one old television and two beds.
Dad Wang Yougiu, 32, who earns just under 200 GBP per month as a labourer, said they knew it was vital for their son to get surgery while he was as young as possible if it is to be a success – and their luck changed when the story appeared in the media.
He said: "We have been so grateful for the reaction, that so many people from all over the world wanted to help us and have made it possible for us to now move forward with the treatment is wonderful."
A fund was set up to collect in China, and internationally donations were collected by journalismwithoutborders.com.
Spokesman David Rogers said: "Enough money has been collected for treatment to get well underway. It's not going to be easy, and because Xiaopeng has impressed everyone with his bravery we decided to have a collection among our team to pay for him to have a day out.
"The trip to the park was the first time that he had left his village for anything other than hospital visits, and it's fair to say that he had a good time. Seeing him laughing and playing made it all worthwhile, and we took a few pictures to share with all those who have helped make this treatment possible with their donations, as well as all those others who sent the family good wishes. At the end of the day we had some toys for him and his sister."
Rogers said: "The money we were given was for treatment and it wouldn't have been correct to use that for something like this – but we felt given what he was going to have to go through and what he had already suffered that he deserved at least one good day out."
He added that many of the fairground ride operators at Zhongshan Park, the biggest park in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China’s Ningxia Hui autonomous region, had allowed the youngster to travel for free - and wished him good luck with the upcoming surgery when skin from his legs will be transplanted to his face.
The family were also celebrating the news that a special school for children with disabilities had agreed to find a place for their son in Yinchuan, and he would be able to finally start learning to read and write. Until now because of the damage to his hands it had been difficult to get a local school to take him.
Xiaopeng spent a full day at the park playing with his sister and his mum Zheng Weixiu, 30, a housewife, before travelling home to play with his first ever toys.
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