Dying 8-Year-Old's Unusual Wish Captivates China

'It's just really nice to know that so many people have my back'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2016 8:44 AM CST
Dying 8-Year-Old's Unusual Wish Captivates China
Dorian Murray.   (Facebook)

An 8-year-old terminal cancer patient from Rhode Island has become a massive celebrity in China—in a little less than a week. After a four-year battle with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of muscle cancer, 8-year-old Dorian Murray told his dad he had one final request: "I would like to be famous in China ... because they have that bridge." (He meant the Great Wall. "Yeah. It is kind of a bridge. People walk on it," he explained.) The message was shared on Facebook on Sunday and reached China—where Facebook is blocked—within hours. "Little Fighter, I am in Shenzhen and I wish you strongly fight against this disease," posted one Weibo user, per NBC News. People around the country (including staff members of the state-run China Daily, notes the BBC) shared images of themselves with signs bearing the hashtag #DStrong.

The hashtag was the top trending topic on Weibo as of Friday morning, but Dorian's story has also spread well outside of China, with photos coming from France, Japan, Switzerland, and Italy. One photo shows a man holding a sign reading, "G'day Dorian. You're famous in Australia!" Another shows a scuba diver with a similar sign in the Marshall Islands. "We are so amazed, and completely in awe of the response to Dorian's request. So many photos and videos have come pouring in," Dorian's mom writes. As a result, Dorian says his goal has changed a bit. "I'm just thinking before I go to heaven to try to be famous as much as I can," he tells WPRI. His supporters "believe in me," he adds. "It's just really nice to know that so many people have my back." (A dying Virginia 4-year-old got one final, unforgettable Christmas.)

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