An 8-year-old boy with a terminal disease and a courageous heart has achieved his goal to become famous thanks to thousands of Chinese social media users.
Dorian Murray is coming to the end of a four-year battle against rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of muscle cancer. In early January, the Rhode Island boy’s parents learned that his cancer had spread to his spine and brain and that chemotherapy would not be effective. So that they could enjoy their remaining time together, Dorian and his parents made the decision to stop treatment.
Dorian had one request, though: “I would like to be famous in China,” he told his father, Chris Murray. He said it was “because they have that bridge,” referring to the Great Wall of China.
Chris shared Dorian’s wish on his Facebook page, “Praying for Dorian,” and asked the people of China and others around the world to send a picture to Dorian with a sign saying “#D-Strong.” The message and Dorian’s wish quickly spread as thousands of responses came pouring in from around the world.
And what of China? Despite the government’s blocking of Facebook, the people of China opened their hearts and responded in the thousands. With more than 35,000 posts and counting, Dorian has become a trending topic on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblog service, as the Chinese people have posted photos from classrooms, offices, the Great Wall and the Yangtze River Bridge.
According to CNN, Liu Ping, CEO of the tourism company China Star, told the country’s official Xinhua News Agency that she went to the Great Wall and got tourists to pose for photos holding a sign. “I was touched by the boy,” she said. “He was so young, but in the face of death he appeared so strong. I felt obliged to do something for him.”
As did so many others. Cui Tianki, China’s Ambassador to the U.S., posed with the children of Chinese diplomats in Washington, D.C. to send best wishes to Dorian. Celebrities like Conan O’Brien, Paula Abdul and Lance Bass shared photos with the 8-year-old, and New England Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski visited Dorian at his home.
“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 mother told USA TODAY. And now Dorian has expanded his goal.
“I’m just thinking before I go to heaven to try to be as famous as much as I can,” he told WPRI. His supporters “believe in me,” he added. “It’s just nice to know that so many people have my back.”