A Chinese television presenter who refused chemotherapy treatment after discovering she had cancer when she was pregnant has died.
Qiu Yuanyuan, 26, of Zhengzhou, Henan, who had declined treatment while pregnant to avoid it harming her unborn baby, died exactly 100 days after giving birth to her son, Niannian.
The former chess game show host learned she was pregnant in March - but the results of a physical exam found she had a late-stage malignant tumour, according to reports in China.
She decided to stop her treatment to protect her baby, but the cancer then spread around her body – and she was admitted to hospital in September when her conditioned worsened.
There, she gave birth by Caesarean section in September to Niannian, who had only been in her womb for seven months and weighed about 3lbs upon his arrival.
The mother then had an operation to remove the tumour and 20 days of chemotherapy - but it was too late to save her and she died last week, reported the South China Morning Post.
Her husband Zhang Qixuan told the Zhengzhou Evening News: ‘After getting married, becoming a mother was her biggest wish. She chose to save our child. She understood that not everything in life can be perfect. And she said she had never regretted her decision.’
The mother’s death came last Wednesday evening, after her family had held a special meal to celebrate the baby’s 100th day since birth - which is a traditional custom in China.
Her fate has sparked intense online debate in the country, with more than 10million users viewing her story last Friday on Sina Weibo, a Chinese website similar to Twitter.
And I have nothing but sympathy for her husband, now her widower, and her infant son. No decent person should have to go through something like this- no young woman should ever have to be struck down by cancer in her mid-twenties, no husband should have to face a choice between his wife and his unborn child, and no mother should have to bury her daughter.
But that is the reality of the world we live in. Sometimes horrible things happen to decent people. All we can do is try to appreciate the courage and quiet dignity of those who face that kind of adversity and make the right choices in the face of Death.
So spare a moment for Qiu Yuanyuan, who died to bring life into the world. Spare a prayer for her husband, who has lost his mate, and her son, who has lost his mother. She chose to do what is right, not what was convenient.