Girl with leukemia dies after fundraising effort
A 5-year-old girl with leukemia has died one month after her father’s fundraising blog received wide attention from Chinese netizens.
The girl, nicknamed Xiao Xiao, died at Shenzhen University Health Science Center at 6 am on Saturday. Her parents donated her body to the center for clinical research.
Gao Min of the Shenzhen Red Cross Society told Xinhua News Agency that Xiao Xiao’s parents had bought her some new clothes and planned to dress her up as Santa Claus to celebrate Christmas.
The father, Luo Er, first wrote about the infant on Nov 25. She was diagnosed with a low blood platelet count in September and hospitalized soon after.
To raise money for her treatment, Luo began writing about his daughter and her illness on WeChat. His journals were not widely read until Xiaotongren, a Shenzhen-based finance company, said it would donate 1 yuan ($0.15) for each reposting of the article. The father’s article entitled “Luo Yixiao, Stop” went viral.
Luo described how he was signing up for the Red Cross Angel Plan. “I do not want to take advantage of the government,” he wrote. “I want to tell my daughter that I am doing all I can, but she must wait for me.”
“Luo Yixiao, don’t run away,” he wrote. “You must be a good girl and come home with me.”
He gently chided her: “If you run away to heaven, even if you are an angel, one day when we meet there, I will not talk to you.”
As of Nov 30, the article had been read and liked by more than 100,000 people on WeChat, raising more than 2 million yuan from Xiaotongren and from readers.
As Luo’s journal grew in popularity, people became interested in his private life. It was soon disclosed that he owns three apartments, implying that he perhaps had the means to fund his daughter’s treatment without requiring donations from the public. Suddenly, far from drawing the sympathy of millions, Lou was denounced as a cheat who had taken advantage of people’s kindness.
Luo made no secret of having three apartments, but said he was planning to use the money raised to set up a foundation for children living with leukemia.
Luo said he was in mourning when contacted by Xinhua by telephone on Saturday. He added that he hadn’t expected his daughter to pass away so quickly and expressed his gratitude to everyone who tried to help.
Fishermen display their catch on frozen Changling Lake in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, on Sunday to mark the start of a two-monthlong ice-fishing festival.