Organ recipients of 16-year-old donor form basketball team to honor boy’s dream

BY GLOBAL TIMES

This may just be one of China’s most unusual basketball teams.

The eldest player is 53 years old and the youngest 14. None of them had received basketball training and not too long ago were not even fit for sports.

In April 2017, when 16-year-old Ye Sha died of cerebral hemorrhage, his parents donated his organs and saved the lives of seven people. Five of them decided to form a basketball team in Ye’s name to complete Ye’s unfinished basketball dream.

Ye Sha 1

On January 27 this year, the team played against a professional team from the Women Chinese Basketball Association, and attracted a crowd which included NBA star Yao Ming, who is the current Chinese Basketball Association president.

“Thank you, Ye Sha, you allowed me to continue to explore this world,” 14-year-old Yan Jing, who received Ye’s cornea, said in the video.

Before the match, a video was played in Ye’s honor that brought many audience to tears.

Ye’s name was printed on the team’s uniforms, as well as the organs they had received from the boy, to keep the donor’s memory alive.

“Ye Sha loved playing basketball and he had hoped to compete in basketball games,” one of the team members who accepted Ye’s liver, surnamed Zhou explained why they formed their basketball team.

The team was organized by the Red Cross Society of China Hunan Branch in August 2017. He Yiping, the director of the project, said that these five members overcame many difficulties, especially sacrificing their own privacy.

However, Zhou noted that he was willing to join the team even if it would expose his privacy as the team could tell others about the kindness of Ye’s family.

The director of the project said that the story of Ye can influence many people and inspire their support.

“Organ donations are not natural but the result of education,” she said. “They are gifts to those who nearly lose their life.”

A total of 18,433 people in China voluntarily donated 52,213 organs from 2010 to July 2018, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

About 300,000 patients need organ transplants in China each year.

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