A couple in China who could not afford to save both of their twin 10-month-old sons who were struck with a rare disease forced their infants to draw lots to decide which baby would get a life-saving transplant.
According to Chinese publication Shaoguan Daily, the siblings were diagnosed with Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD) – a genetic condition that significantly weakens the immue system – when they were a mere 5 months old.
The twins are not expected to live past the tender age of two without a transplant, since the disease makes them susceptible to certain types of bacterial and fungal infections.
The children – named Kang Kang (Healthy) and Le Le (Happy) – were born on 22 Oct last year in the Shixing County in Guangdong Province, China. Just one month later, in November, Kang Kang suffered sudden breathing difficulties and was admitted to the intensive care unit of a hospital.
Adding to their parents’ heartbreak, Le Le also suffered the same health issues as his brother and was admitted to the same hospital in Chongqing that is well-known for treating CGD.
After the couple spent over USD $58,000 (or RMB500,000) on treatment expenses for their son, the hospital informed them that matching donors from the China Marrow Donor Programme have been found to be willing to help their boys.
Unfortunately, each transplant would cost almost USD $73,000, bringing the costs for two transplants up to a hefty USD $145, 270 (or RMB1 million) – far more than the poor parents can afford. Even with help from their friends and relatives, the parents could only raise enough to save one son.
Desperate and unable to choose between their children, the couple decided to make their children choose who would get the life-saving transplant by drawing lots. Waiting for the twins’ grandmother to leave the room, the parents made their sons choose between a blank piece of paper and a paper that had the word “keep” on it.
Kang Kang, the elder twin, ended up choosing the “keep” paper.
When the boys’ grandmother returned and discovered what had happened, she chastised the couple who knelt to the ground and sought her and their sons’ forgiveness while saying that they had no other choice.
Fortunately, the family’s plight caught the notice of the China Charities Aid Foundation for Children, which began a fund-raising campaign and raised nearly enough to save both twin brothers. The campaign will hit its target when it raises about USD $11,500 more.
Thankful, the boys’ father told the Chinese publication: “God didn’t give up on my twins. But they still have to fight to survive till the day of transplant.”