Baby girl suffers stroke on first birthday

KUALA LUMPUR - The birthday cake was ready.

So was the present - a pretty skirt for baby girl Siew Jing Yew, known affectionately as Yew Yew, who turned one on Oct 16.

But what was supposed to be a day of celebration turned into a nightmare for Yew Yew's parents.

The baby was warded in a Kuala Lumpur hospital on Oct 14 after coming down with a cough and fever.

Initially, 28-year-old housewife Chin Yu Fung thought her daughter would recover in time to celebrate her first birthday at home.

Sadly, it was not meant to be.

On the day that Yew Yew turned one, doctors broke the bad news that she had suffered a stroke, her parents said.

Her father, Siew Chee Leong, told Malaysian paper Guangming Daily that they had noticed that she was coughing on Oct 14.

When they took her to hospital, doctors told them that everything seemed fine, the 34-year-old furniture sales supervisor said.

But the next day, at around 6pm, he noticed Yew Yew clenching her left hand and shivering. It turned out she had cramps. She was placed under observation.

On her birthday, doctors said she had a stroke. More bad news followed last Thursday.

A virus infection had caused bleeding in Yew Yew's right brain.

Mr Siew told Guangming: "I'm heartbroken. The news about her condition just keeps getting worse every day. At first, we accepted it when she had a stroke.

"But then doctors said she had internal bleeding. The last few days have been really trying."

The couple said a large portion of Yew Yew's brain cells have died from a lack of oxygen, which could affect her learning abilities in future.

Looking at her daughter hooked to various tubes, an upset Madam Chin said: "Every time I play with Yew Yew, she would smile so happily. We love her so much."

Yew Yew underwent two operations and was placed in intensive care.

The couple need more than RM50,000 (S$20,000) to pay the medical bill.

To help raise the money, Mr Siew's friend has set up a Facebook page called "Need Help! 1-year-old Baby got Stroke".

As of 7pm on Friday, the page had received more than 1,500 likes and over 3,500 people had talked about it.

The Facebook page provides updates of Yew Yew's condition, including a post on Wednesday that said the baby was awake and able to recognise Madam Chin.

"(The) doctor mentioned that she may not be able to do that (recognise her mother) but she did! This is a huge progress."

A post later that day thanked donors, saying the family had "achieved our targeted amount".

As Yew Yew's road to recovery begins, her parents remain hopeful that she will be able to play with them once more, wearing the birthday skirt.

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