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UPDATED: August 11, 2014 Web Exclusive
Lending a Helping Hand
Volunteers help promote cancer-awareness and care
By Chen Ran

Han Danlei spent two weeks of her summer vacation rising at 4 a.m. to make the two and a half hour commute to volunteer at the Information Desk of the Cancer Institute and Hospital (CIH) in downtown Beijing.

Living in Zhuozhou City, north China's Hebei Province, some 50 km away from Beijing, the 17-year-old nursing major who attends the Capital Railway Health School joins the ranks of 2,300 registered volunteers who have helped out since the CIH launched its voluntary program in August 2008. In 2012, the CIH set up China's first service center designed for cancer patients, aiming to bridge the gaps between patients' family, medical staff and hospital management.

"I attended a training course on volunteering and I've always wanted to contribute to the community," Han told Beijing Review before entering a ward in the afternoon of August 8.

Han distributed wigs to several female patients, as part of CIH's year-round wig donation drive. More than 30 volunteers have donated their hair for wig making since March this year.

"I truly appreciate your kindness," a patient surnamed Liu told Han after putting her wig on.

"I think this was the highlight of my time here," Han said. "I am thinking of donating my hair, too."

Statistics from China's National Center Prevention and Control Office showed about 3.1 million new cases of cancer and 2.5 million deaths from the disease annually.

"We are looking forward to seeing more volunteers getting involved," said Peng Yu, Chairperson of the Board of Directors with Cancer Foundation of China.

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