Father ‘marries’ his dying daughter to help her realise bride dream

Father ‘marries’ his four-year-old dying daughter at her hospital ward to help the cancer-stricken girl realise her dream of being a bride

  • Yuan Dongfang and little Yaxin had a special ceremony in a hospital in Beijing
  • The girl has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and needs an emergency transplant 
  • Mr Yuan decided to hold the wedding after the girl said she wanted to be a bride
  • The debt-ridden family fear they might not be able to find money to pay for bills
  • The emotional father has begged the public to help save his ‘beloved daughter’
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A Chinese father has held a special ‘wedding ceremony’ with his four-year-old cancer-stricken daughter to help the girl realise her dream of being a bride. 

The little girl, named Yaxin, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukaemia and could die within two months if her family fail to find money to treat her, according to her father Yuan Dongfang. 

The heart-broken parent told Chinese media that his family had spent all their savings and run into massive debts in order to treat Yaxin in the past two years. 

Yuan Dongfang kneels down to give his daughter a small bouquet of flowers on November 17 during the special ‘wedding ceremony’ at the girl’s hospital ward in Beijing Boren Hospital

Mr Yuan holds Yaxin, four, who has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

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He said they had borrowed around 400,000 yuan (£45,800) to pay for the medical bills, but were told by the doctors that further treatment would cost around 600,000 yuan (£68,700) more.

Mr Yuan said his daughter told him she wanted to be a bride, therefore he decided to arrange the ceremony at her ward in Boren Hospital in Beijing.

During the ceremony on November 17, Mr Yuan knelt down to give his daughter a small bouquet of flowers as Yaxin wore one white towel on the head and another around her waist as her make-shift wedding costume. 

Yaxin poses for a picture with her parents who are originally from the city of Dandong

Yaxin could die within two months if her family fail to find money to treat her, her father said

Mr Yuan told local media btime.com that the idea occurred to him when he was comforting his crying daughter one day after an operation. 

He said his daughter, who was about to turn five, was in such pain that she kept asking him to take her home. 

‘I told her that we could go home when she recovers. She could go home to find her playmates, go to the zoo or school, find a job or get married,’ he told btime.com.

A picture released by China Charities Aid Foundation for Children during a fund-raising campaign for Yaxin shows the four-year-old girl visiting a tourist attraction in China

The child is pictured lying in her hospital bed. She was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2016 at the age of two, which left her family devastated

‘Then she asked me “when would I be able to get married?” And I answered: “When you grow to the age of me and your mother”.’

The girl then told her father it would take too long before asking him if he could be her ‘boyfriend’ or ‘husband’ to marry her. 

‘She might not understand the meaning of getting married. She might just think that it is a wonderful thing and therefore wants to do it,’ the man explained. 

Yaxin’s father and mother have moved from their hometown of Dandong to Beijing for the girl

Yaxin’s father has pleaded for help from the public after her health deteriorated in October

Yaxin’s family are originally from Dandong, a city in north-east China’s Liaoning province bordering North Korea. 

Yaxin’s grandparents have poor health and her parents have had to lead a thrifty life and work extra hours in order to pay the medical bills for the elderly couple. 

The family’s fate was changed all of sudden in September, 2016, when a two-year-old Yaxin was found to have acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of blood cancer that mainly affects younger people and starts from young white blood cells in the bone marrow. 

In order to save their daughter, Mr Yuan and his wife sold the majority of their assets and borrowed money from their relatives before taking the child to the capital city for nine-month-long chemotherapy sessions. The girl’s condition stablised after the treatment.

However, Mr Yuan said Yaxin’s health took a turn for the worse in September and his family were devastated to learn from the doctors that the girl’s condition had transformed from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia into acute myeloid leukaemia.

Mr Yuan puts a towel on Yaxin’s head as a make-shift veil before the ceremony last month

Yaxin’s family have borrowed some 400,000 yuan (£45,800) to treat her in the past two years

Doctors allegedly said that Yaxin’s case was extremely rare and that the transformation of her disease was caused by a genetic mutation which was in turn caused by long-term chemotherapy.  

Acute myeloid leukaemia is an aggressive and rare form of blood cancer. Its symptoms usually develop over a few weeks and become more severe.

After diagnosis, patients need urgent chemotherapy due to the aggressive nature of the cancer, according to NHS Choices.

The health of Yaxin’s grandparents also reportedly became worse after they heard of the sad news of their granddaughter.

Mr Yuan and his wife have moved to Beijing and now live in a small rented flat near the hospital. They are desperate to raise money for Yaxin to have an emergency transplant. 

The emotional father has plead for help from the public through the press. 

He said: ‘She really wants to keep on living healthily. 

‘She is so innocent, native, cute and mature. We cannot leave her behind. 

‘We hope kind-hearted people in the society could help us save our beloved daughter.’

The family have received 150,000 yuan (£17,158) donation from the public through an online fund-raising campaign.  

What is acute myeloid leukaemia?

Acute myeloid leukaemia is an aggressive and rare form of blood cancer.

The symptoms of AML usually develop over a few weeks and become more severe. 

According to NHS Choices, the symptoms include: 

  • Pale Skin
  • Tiredness
  • Breathlessness
  • Frequent infections
  • Unusual and frequent bleeding – including the gums and nosebleeds

In advanced cases, patients are incredibly vulnerable to life-threatening infections and internal bleeding. 

If a GP suspects leukaemia, they will arrange a blood test to determine blood cell production. 

In AML, stem cells within the patient’s bone marrow produce too many immature white blood cells, which are not capable of fighting infection. 

This also can lead to a decrease in production of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells and platelets that help the blood to clot. 

Each year around 2,600 people in the UK are diagnosed with blood cancer. 

After diagnosis, patients need urgent chemotherapy due to the aggressive nature of the cancer. 

In some cases, radiotherapy may be needed along with a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. 

Source: NHS Choices 

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