BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese cartoonist started a week-long online auction Sunday to raise money for the patients suffering from brittle bone, a rare disease.
The 30-year-old, better known by her pseudonym, Jidi, spent one year creating 366 water-color paintings.
Up for auction are her last 51 pieces of work. She has sold 315 pieces in five separate auctions since July raising more than 138,000 yuan (about 22,200 U.S. dollars).
She is using the cash to help patients with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), often known as brittle bone disease.
Money so far has been donated to China-dolls Center for Rare Disorders (CDCRD), a Beijing-based non-profit organization with an overall goal "to create an equal and respectful social environment for people with OI and other rare diseases."
Jidi said she was determined to help OI patients when she first learned about their suffering two years ago.
Brittle bone disease, with an incident rate of about 1/10,000 to 1/15,000, is a genetic disorder that can result in bone fractures and deformities. In China, people with such disease are referred to as "ciwawa," or "china doll."
"That sounds like a beautiful name in Chinese, yet the connotation means they are just as fragile as china, and a fall or even a sneeze may cause a broken bone," Jidi said.
"Nevertheless, they live their lives with a smile, holding to the belief that 'love is strong enough to put us through hardship'," Jidi said, adding she is touched by their optimism and bravery.
From July 27, 2011, Jidi devoted herself to those sufferers by drawing one picture a day, and completed 366 within the year. 2012 was a leap year.
"As a cartoonist, I cannot donate a large sum of money at once," Jidi said, "but I can take one year and help them by drawing."
However, it has not been an easy task.
Though a Silver Award winner at Japan's 5th International Manga Award in 2012, Jidi admitted "there were times when she ran out of inspiration."
"This made me develop a habit of capturing everything interesting instantly," she said.
"Even on my honeymoon in Thailand in 2011, I brought my pigments with me," Jidi recalled, "I visited an aquarium there, and soon drew it out that night."
For Jidi, philanthropy is something that a person can do with what he or she is capable of. Even a little giving counts.
Huang Rufang, founder of CDCRD, shared the same view. He said what Jidi is doing is of great value. He hopes philanthropy can become a part of people's everyday life.
As a cartilage sufferer, Huang has dedicated himself to the care and welfare of OI patients and other rare disease sufferers since the center was established five years ago.
He said the center has provided medical and social support to more than 2,000 OI families struggling with financial difficulties.
Although there is no cure for brittle bone disease, medical treatment can help reduce the chance of bone breaks, and improve the patients' lives.
"But the cost of treatment surpasses what an ordinary family can afford," Huang said. He wants the government to include rare diseases like OI into the medical insurance system.
Ren Xiuzhi, an orthopedist from Tianjin Hospital in north China's Tianjin Municipality, said there are around 100,000 OI patients in China but that few doctors show interest in treating the disease.
They do not know much about it, especially in rural China, Ren complained. "Hopefully, we will have more professionals who can give timely and proper medical treatment for patients."
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