Poverty-stricken student, 24, weighs only THREE STONE after being forced to starve for five years because she has to save money to pay for her ill brother's medical bills

A poverty-stricken 24-year-old Chinese student weighs only a bit more than three stone because she couldn't afford to buy food, leading her to suffer from severe malnutrition. 

Wu Huayan from rural Guizhou Province only has two yuan (20p) to spare each day on meals because she has to save money to treat her sick brother.

Ms Wu, who stands 4ft 5in tall and weighs 21.5kg (47 pounds), has been hospitalised and is awaiting surgery thanks to donations from Good Samaritans after her story was featured by Chinese media. 

Ms Wu is a student at the Shenghua Vocational College in the city of Tongren. 

Her mother died when she was four and her father died when she was 18, leaving her to be the sole carer of her younger brother who is mentally ill.

Ms Wu says she receives 300 yuan (£33) per month from the local government as welfare, but with that money she also needs to cover part of her sibling's medical bills. 

For the past five years, she has lived extremely frugally, eating as little food as possible. 

'I am not like other people who can ask for money from their parents after they spend it. I don't have parents,' she said in a video interview.

With an impossible two yuan daily food budget, she is only allowed to eat two steam buns or two bowls of plain steamed rice. 

'I used to have plenty of hair. But in the third year of high school, my hair started to fall out in lumps, so did my eyebrows,' Ms Wu said.

She added that her brother had to be hospitalised in the same year. 

Although the government covered half of her brother's medical bills, she still had to borrow 5,000 yuan (£548) to pay for the rest.

In an interview with Guizhou City News, she said she knew she had been malnourished, but could not afford to go to hospital. 

'I often felt no strength in my limbs, could not sleep and my feet started to swell,' she said. 

After entering college, Ms Wu took a student loan and worked two part-time jobs in order to improve her financial situation. 

But in September, Ms Wu's classmates demanded that she go to the doctor after seeing her frail physical condition. 

Ms Wu initially refused out of financial concerns, so her classmates carried her to hospital by force.

Apart from malnutrition, she was found to have problems with her heart valves and need surgery, which will cost more than 20,000 yuan (£2,100). 

Just when Ms Wu was about to give up medical treatment because of the astronomical cost, Good Samaritans heard of her story and helped her set up online crowd-funding pages. 

Her story was also reported by local and national news outlets. 

Tongren Women's Association on Tuesday shared her story on its social media account, encouraging the public to help her. 

Kind-hearted strangers donated 700,000 yuan (£76,724) to the student in the space of two days - more than enough for her surgery and nursing fees.

Tongren Civil Affairs Bureau then offered 200,000 yuan (£21,909) to Ms Wu as emergency subsidisation. 

The authority has also promised to do whatever it can to ensure that Ms Wu receives proper medical care. 

Ms Wu said she looked forward to the day when she could recover. 

'I still want to write my articles and poetry. This is the life I want,' she said.

She also thanked people who helped her for their generosity. 

She apologised for not being able to respond to phone calls or meeting requests from the public.

She said while lying in her hospital bed: 'Now I need to focus on resting, I cannot answer the phone calls from the public or receive visitors. I am sorry.'

Ms Wu's teacher said she was in stable condition and awaiting a surgical operation. He said the college would assist Ms Wu in her treatment.

stella Posted on November 03, 2019 16:03

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