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Thank you for keeping my heart and hopes alive

“I was diagnosed with heart failure in 2012. My heart muscles weren’t able to pump blood properly so I was given an Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator to monitor and control my heart beat. Even then, I continued to feel breathless and kept collapsing  , so I was referred to the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS). The doctor said I needed a Left Ventricular Assist Device implantation (LVAD) (see sidebar) to support my heart until I was able to undergo a heart transplant. 

During this time I was working as a container stacker and a forklift driver. Fortunately, my health insurance and MediSave covered the cost of my LVAD procedure. I was able to return to work afterwards, but I had to attend regular hospital appointments to monitor my condition. 

In November 2016, however, I lost my job because I was taking too much time off from work to go for medical check-ups. My employer felt that it wasn’t safe for me to operate heavy machinery with my heart condition, and with my frequent absence from work, it was hard to find someone to cover my job. Since then, I’ve been trying to get a job but it has been difficult, as no one is willing to hire me with my heart condition. My wife is also unable to work as she needs to accompany me for my hospital appointments. 

When you’re unable to work, you worry about money all the time. Every little cost adds up, especially when you are sick. Every day, I need to change the dressing where the LVAD is connected to my chest to avoid an infection from happening. Each dressing kit costs $4. I also need to buy plastic wrap and tape to cover the area when I shower. Then, there are the blood tests I need to go for every two weeks. To many people, these costs may not add up to much, but for me, they do.

The batteries for my LVAD machine need to be replaced every two years. This costs about $4,000 – it was a huge source of stress because I know I could not afford it. Thankfully, when the batteries needed changing in early 2017, the NHCS Heart To Heart Fund covered the cost. It was a huge relief. I don’t know how we would have managed without this help. 

The Fund has been a lifeline to me and many other heart patients, especially those of us who are waiting for a heart transplant so we can try our best to lead a normal life again. On behalf of other patients like myself and their families, my wife and I would like to say a big thank you to all the donors who have supported the fund. Your generosity keeps families together and our hearts and hopes alive for a better tomorrow."

Mr Jupri bin Supari, beneficiary of the NHCS Heart to Heart Fund