DREAM DASHED: Tee Hui Yee missed her first day at work at a kindergarten
BATU PAHAT: HEART transplant patient Tee Hui Yee did not make it for her first day at work yesterday.
She was supposed to report for duty at a kindergarten here but died at 10.02am at the Batu Pahat Hospital when she fell unconscious at home.
"Being a kindergarten teacher was her lifelong dream and she was very happy about starting her new job," said Hui Yee's mother, Dina Bato Sambua, 51, when met here yesterday.
"I cannot believe that Hui Yee is no more with us as she looked forward to starting her first day at work. The 18-year-old, the youngest of four siblings, was due to celebrate her 19th birthday in 10 days' time.
Dina said the celebrations were planned on a large-scale with family and relatives to mark the five years as a successful heart transplant patient.
Dina said her daughter felt unwell and vomited after having a steamboat session with friends the day before.
"I wanted to bring her to hospital, but she refused. This morning (yesterday), she complained of backache.
"I then massaged her, and at the same time, she also reminded me that come Oct 5, it would be exactly five years since she received her heart transplant at the National Heart Institute (IJN) in Kuala Lumpur."
Shortly after that, Dina said, her daughter's body went into spasms and her face turned pale.
"I panicked at her condition and called out to my husband (Tee Ah Soon, 57) who tried to resuscitate her before rushing her to hospital. However, the doctors pronounced her dead upon arrival," she said.
Hui Yee had touched the hearts of many back in September 2007 when she pleaded to Malaysians for a donor heart while having to survive on a mechanical heart.
She had used a mechanical heart for about a year before she underwent surgery at IJN after receiving a heart from a youth who died in a road accident in Perak.
However, less than 24 hours after undergoing a 10-hour surgery, Hui Yee's body rejected the organ and had to be operated the next day.
She then underwent an emergency seven-hour surgery for a second donor heart on Oct 5, 2007.
The surgery was successful and she was later discharged from IJN on Dec 22, 2008 after spending 15 months under observation.
Dina said her daughter had always wanted to give back to the community and country which had helped her to receive a successful heart transplant operation.
She said Hui Yee had wanted to be an organ donor herself as she was part of the donorship recipient for organ transplant programme.
"I cannot believe that her dream to educate and coach children by being a kindergarten teacher will never be a reality," said Dina, while sobbing in between.
Hui Yee's body was placed at a funeral home in Jalan Fatimah, here, while awaiting the final rites tomorrow.