A 10-year-old boy from northeastern China sneaked out of his house and begged in a local city square to raise funds to help treat his mother with leukaemia, a news website reported.
The boy, Zhang Huanyu, was sent back to his home village in Jilin province by a couple after they saw him begging in Liaoyuan for a whole day last week, Sohu.com reported.
Zhang begged using a cardboard sign saying, “Please, warm-hearted people, help my mother who has leukaemia.”
Zhang’s grandparents, who had been searching for him, cried when he handed over a stack of cash and asked them to mail the money to his mother Xu Wei in Beijing.
Xu is a single mother who first fell ill in 2016, according to the report.
“I’ve already grown up and am a man. I need to protect mum,” Zhang was quoted as saying. “Other pupils all have their mums and I want my mum to see me going to school, pick me up and cook me meals.”
The family’s medical fees have exceeded 1 million yuan (US$157,980) and Zhang’s family has run out of money after selling everything – including their home – and borrowing money from all their friends and relatives.
After overhearing his grandparents talking about making arrangements for a funeral, Zhang decided to go begging, the report said.
“I won’t go to school and will go begging every day to pay mum’s hospital fees if they don’t treat her. I can’t let mum die,” the child said.
The couple who sent Zhang back left 500 yuan and told the grandparents to contact them if they needed more help.