Leukemia girl dies, whose father trapped in donation controversy

Luo Yixiao, a 6-year-old girl in Shenzhen, died in the early morning of Christmas Eve after a three-month struggle with leukemia. She was known by the public for an online fundraising effort launched by her father, which had sparked a bitter controversy, reports the paper.cn.

According to the report, the young girl passed way at six o'clock on Saturday morning. Her parents have donated her body to Shenzhen University donation center for medical research.

Luo Yixiao was diagnosed with leukemia on September 8. Since then, her father Luo Er has kept journals about his daughter's progress on his personal account on the social networking app WeChat. Within half a month, the father had collected over 32,000 yuan after his journal entries were reposted thousands of times.

As the girl's condition worsened in early November, Luo Er began to cooperate with marketing company Xiaotongren, which is owned by his friend Liu Xiafeng, to promote his journals. The company promised to donate 1 yuan for each repost of the journals published on its WeChat account, up to a ceiling of 500,000 yuan.

Frantic reposts were seen across social media, and netizens also donated to Luo through WeChat's "reward" function, which allows users to give financial rewards to authors of posts. By November 30, Xiaotongren had received over two million yuan on its WeChat donation platform alone. The company said it will donate 500,000 yuan to support the sick girl, and the rest will be given to other charity programs.

But the situation changed dramatically when reports surfaced that Luo Er's family owns three apartments and most of his daughter's treatment expenses can be covered by medical insurance.

Many donors said they felt cheated. Luo's friend Liu was accused of taking advantage of the public sympathy to promote his company. Some argued that the company could have made its donation directly instead of devising ploys in order to boost its own exposure.

Confronting the criticisms, Xiaotongren company announced on December 1 that the company and Luo will use all the donations to set up a leukemia foundation, and then from the foundation they will apply money for Luo's daughter's treatment through legal means.

In another interview early this month, Luo said his daughter, who turned six on December 7, was in a complicated condition as she was also suffering from hemophagocytic syndrome. The father added he would only accept judicial investigation on related online allegations.


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