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An online crowdfunding effort from a German expat couple living in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, hit its goal, raising 128,888 yuan ($20,172) for the cancer-stricken wife two days after it went online Jan 22.
The donation page on ShuidiChou.cn, a crowdfunding site serving critically ill patients for free, reads: “Due to her foreign nationality, Evelyn can’t find an insurance plan to cover the medical cost. We hope friends in China will help the foreign couple who has deeply bonded with Ningbo and profoundly contributed to this city.”
A total of 3,319 donations were collected online, with 1,090 forward counts of this page.
65-year-old Eckhard Goessl and his wife Evelyn Goessl, also 65, settled down in Ningbo 14 years ago.
“The couple have been contributing to the charity projects in Ningbo for over 14 years,” said Guo Tianfang, vice secretary-general of the Ningbo Charity Federation. “Their partnership with us initiated only four years ago, when I first met Mr. Goessl in a charity event.”
For four years, the couple has been donating toys, books and other charitable goods to Ningbo Charity Foundation, which then dispatched them to local schools for immigrant workers’ children and children with disabilities.
“I still remember their first donation to us — a truckload of donation boxes piled up high was picked up from his company.”
The husband is a self-starter businessman, the organizer of an international nonprofit’s branch in Ningbo and an adjunct professor teaching German in colleges, according to Ningbo Evening News. He also volunteers to teach English to immigrant workers’ children, Guo added.
The wife was reportedly diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer in 2015, but Guo only knew of her health condition when the news about the crowdfunding effort broke in the local newspaper Jan 23.
“I had no idea of their financial strain. Given their generosity, it’s hard to imagine they actually opted for the cheapest cancer drugs,” Guo said.
Guo immediately convened a meeting Jan 24 with his colleagues and a consensus was reached to withdraw 30,000 yuan from the “Big Love Fund”, set up in 2015 to reward philanthropists who make remarkable contributions to Ningbo’s charity projects, and gift it to the couple.
The Goessls are currently seeing doctors in Hangzhou, two hours’ drive from Ningbo. The gift will be handed to them when they return Monday.
Wang Xiaoyu contributed to this story.