Appeal to help burns boy aged 5
The Chinese boy left trapped behind a mask of scar tissue after a fire burned his face and hands off is to get the first of a dozen operations to try and restore some of his features.
Wang Xiaopeng has an almost featureless face after the horrific accident two years ago. The five-year-old (born in July 19, 2006) was trapped by a blaze he had started in a load of straw while playing with a lighter. Wang, who lives at Tangnan village in the Yueyahu township, at Yinchuan city, capital of northwest China’s Ningxia Hui autonomous region, almost died after the blaze and although doctor's saved his life - he was left without hair, lips, eyelids and fingers. He does not go to school, as no schools will admit him, and he only has a few friends who have got used to his appearance. But although money for treatment quickly dried up donations made after his story was revealed have meant that his family will now be able to start the process of rebuilding his face.
A journalist from the British charity Journalism Without Borders said: "We are collecting money for the family to pay the medical costs but they already have enough to start the process. "We also want to help him with a teacher, so he can make a start on his schooling that will fit around his medical appointments." Dad Wang Yougui, 32, is a rural migrant worker who earns about 200 pounds a month to support his family while the boy's mum Zheng Weixiu, 30, is a housewife. The couple spent their life savings - around 15,000 - and had almost given up hope before the boy's story appeared in the media and donations started to come in.
Doctor Li Jinning, from Ningxia Medical University hospital, said Xiaopeng needed a minimum of three surgeries to get an at least "human" look and probably much more to do a proper job.
Dad Yougui said: "The summer was always the worst for him, the heat makes his burns painful and he really suffers from mosquitoes, but his biggest wish is to one day go to school like the other children. That's why we want him to study now so that he has the basics if the operations go well."
At the moment even if a school would take him he has trouble seeing - and he lost a lot of his fingers making it hard to hold a pencil or a book. He does have a few friends who have got used to his appearance but he is alone when they go to school. Although a Communist country, China does not have a cradle-to-grave free-at-the-point of use healthcare system. Instead around half of the population buy basic medical insurance which covers for half the costs of their healthcare. The remainder is paid either by patients or their health insurer.
However, this leaves the poorest in China struggling to meet medical bills for serious condition like Xiaopengs.
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