Saturday, 02. August 2014
04. 07. 14. - 13:00
China's tragic 'teddy bear girl' has died 26 days before her 18th birthday after losing her battle with cancer.
Zhou Jie, 17, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2012, shortly after getting married.
Known as the "teddy bear girl" - which is the name of her store on Taobao China's largest online marketplace - Zhou made soft toys to help pay for medical costs.
After the media reported about her plight in mid-June, hundreds of orders came flooding in. She then made a vow to finish 1,000 teddy bears to repay those who had helped support her. She achieved her wish before falling into a deep coma.
Zhou spent two years battling against cancer that spread across her body. Although the prognosis right from the start was not good, her family liquidated all their assets and spent every penny they had to cover the medical bills.
In total they have spent more than 30,000 GBP on medical treatment for the young woman from Neijiang, in Sichuan, and her father Dewei is unrepentant saying: "For the life of my daughter I would give everything. Even if it doesn't work, it will have been money well spent.
"Well, now we have lost her, but we had her around for longer than we might have done and every day she was with us was an extra ray of sunshine. I hope she is at peace wherever she has gone to."
Zhou often chatted online about her attempt to beat cancer with people who purchased her toys, and eventually her bravery and her efforts to repay her parents were focused on by local media, which not only boosted sales but also pulling in volunteers to help in making the toys.
Zhou said before she died: "I guess making them was getting a lot harder as I got weaker, I'm glad so many people have offered to help."
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