Xia Jun fell under the media spotlight recently for his unique offer of one punch for 10 yuan. Setting up shop in front of train stations around Beijing he laid out a cardboard box and wore a white shirt with “Human Punching Bag: 1 Punch, 10 Yuan [US$1.60] scrawled down it.

Far from a Jackass-type stunt that we might have seen before, it’s hard to believe that anyone after hearing Xia’s story actually would have taken him up on his offer. In fact, it’d be hard to resist giving him at least 100 yuan and a hug instead.

Those who come across Xia would first notice the deadly somber expression on his face and pictures of his once healthy son taped to his donation box sitting on a folding table. The table itself is draped with several documents from various clinics that Xia’s son has visited. These were the bills he would have to overcome to save his boy’s life.

In between punching sessions Xia would visit his child who had been hospitalized for myeloid leukemia treatment. Once the boy was diagnosed, medical staff informed the family that in addition to years of treatment a bone marrow transplant would be required.

Although, the success of the transplant looked promising, the cost of the surgery alone would come to 700,000 yuan ($113,000). It was a price that Xia couldn’t come close to affording. Even if he sold his house he would still be deeply in debt. So he took to the streets and threw himself on the mercy of strangers.

At first Xia was only begging for donations to help his ill son, but he found that although some were willing to hand over money, most simply scoffed at his sign. They had just assumed his plea was a another sob-story con to boost panhandling.

So, in an effort to appeal to the jaded masses, with little time to spare and nothing left to lose, Xia decided to throw his own body on the line and gave donors the right to pummel him if they would be kind enough to donate.

It’s uncertain how effective the Human Punching Bag campaign was by itself. However, once the media in China learnt of Xia’s plight, word began to spread fast. Suddenly, not only did donations begin to pour in, but many reached out to him offering their sympathy and promises of more money to help his son through the lengthy treatment.

It had gotten to the point that Xia couldn’t keep his phone charged because of the sheer number of messages of support that came through it. When he went for his daily visit to his son, there would sometimes be up to 20 other people also visiting with a kind word. In a touching show of community spirit, it was as if people from all around were rallying for the Human Punching Bag and his son.

Miraculously in a rather short period of time, 800,000 yuan ($129,000) had been raised. It was enough to cover the transplant as well as some associated medical costs. Not only that, many had pledged to continue donating throughout the two years of Xia’s son’s treatment.

Normally, this would be the part of the story where we say that Xia’s son is currently doing well after surgery, but unfortunately life doesn’t always go the right way. After receiving the transplant the boy’s condition began to worsen until the doctors finally gave him one month to live.

And so, Xia and his family left Beijing to return to his hometown. He told the media that they would spend the rest of the time they have together taking the boy everywhere he wants to go. It’s the only way he knows how to deal with the worst blow anyone would ever have to take.

Source: Naver Matome (Japanese)
Images: Qigaipo