GEORGE TOWN: Numerous people rushed to a hospital to donate blood, with one driving all the way from Kuala Lumpur, when word got out that a 14-year-old top student was fighting for his life.
Doctors had operated on Lee Jia Wei to remove a blood clot but after the 3am surgery on Monday, the Chung Ling High School student bled profusely.
It was then that the call for help went out on social media and many responded, including strangers.
Jia Wei went under the knife a second time in an apparent bid by the medical team to stop the internal bleeding.
By the time the teenager underwent a third surgery in less than 24 hours, he had used up about 130 packets of Type O blood.
Despite the doctors' efforts to stop the bleeding, Jia Wei died on the surgery table.
The family, especially his mother Alice Teo, remained strong despite their painful loss.
"We are touched by the overwhelming response from the public and it's really beautiful to see so many good-hearted people out there.
"There was one man who called my husband from Kuala Lumpur, saying he was on his way to Penang to donate blood for Jia," said the 40-year-old homemaker.
"We feel blessed that there were so many people who wanted to help our son and that alone is a great comfort during our hour of grief."
Teo said her son had complained about abdominal pain two weeks ago but appeared well after she applied ointment on his belly.
"The doctor could have diagnosed Jia's problem when he brought it up the first time, but he didn't complain about the pain again until Monday," she added.
"We rushed Jia to a private hospital at about 2am on Monday and only then learnt that his condition was critical and that he needed surgery for intestinal swelling.
"But he started to bleed after the surgery and the bleeding could not be stopped," said a composed Teo.
Her husband, 46-year-old engineer Lee Leong Hai, said Jia Wei was declared dead at about 12.30am yesterday while undergoing his third operation.
"We'd like to thank our friends who helped us in appealing for blood through Facebook as well as netizens who responded.
"Jia Wei was a smart and caring child, and an A-class student in Chung Ling. His ambition was to be a doctor," said Lee.
The couple have two other sons aged 12 and 15.
Lee said Jia Wei's funeral would be held at the Batu Gantung Funeral Parlour at 11am on Thursday.