A fundraising drive has been launched to pay for medical care and family expenses for Yichao Wang, a visiting Ph.D. student from China who was studying at Stanford University, who died Friday after being critically injured in a bicycle/car accident Feb. 3.
Wang, 25, had been in a coma since he was hit by a car while bicycling to his residence at 9:30 p.m. when his bicycle collided with a car at Palm Drive and Museum Way.
He had been attending Stanford for the winter quarter through the Signapore-Stanford Partnership, a research/teaching program between Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Stanford's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, according to Stanford officials. He was studying how membranes can absorb pharmaceutical residues in wastewater treatment.
Wang was on his way from the campus laboratory when he collided with the car, according to Stanford. The collision is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.
Wang's parents held a vigil by their son's side at Stanford Hospital for a week prior to his being pronounced dead, traveling from Harbin in far northern China, where Wang was raised. His wife of two years, Gao, a fellow student in Singapore, also was with him.
Sujie Qin, a post-doctoral researcher in Wang's lab who along with colleagues has been serving as a translator and liaison for the family, said the parents had been hoping for a "miracle" for Wang, their only child.
"They put every hope on their son," Qin said prior to Wang's death. "They are wishing that Yichao will wake up. They want to transfer him back to China and take care of him there, but that's not possible right now."
Wang "really valued the chance to study at Stanford and worked very hard. He stayed late in the lab every day, doing experiments." She said he was "a very nice person, one of those people who always smiles."
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford Hospital and the Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at Stanford University joined forces to assist the family, who have "a very limited income to cover travel and medical expenses," Qin said.
Funds are being raised through the Chinese Mutual Aid International Network. The group's websie, www.cmain.org, includes , tells how to make a donation.
Stanford Police Chief Laura Wilson. said she hopes this "very tragic circumstance" will alert the campus "to the importance of wearing bicycle helmets, and the need to be vigilant about safety at all times, whether you are a bicyclist or driving a vehicle."
Stanford due to past safety-promotion efforts is recognized as a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. In the past four years, an average of 49 bicycle accidents a year have been serious enough to be reported to Stanford's Department of Public Safety, though very few have resulted in serious traumatic injuries or head injuries.