KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) is an academic medical institution leading in the holistic treatment of high-risk medical conditions in women and children. The Development team at KKH facilitates opportunities for members of the community, organisations and corporations to partner the hospital in improving the lives of women and children.
With an increasing awareness of the importance of philanthropy in bettering healthcare, the Development team receives gifts throughout the year; some designated for research to benefit patients with specific conditions, and others in support of patients requiring financial support for medical treatment.
Every gift received makes an impact on a human life. Rachel (not her real name) was one of these lives. During her second week at kindergarten, she began experiencing pain in her neck and vomiting. Rachel was diagnosed with medulloblastoma – a malignant primary brain tumour – at the base of her skull, subsequently undergoing two neurosurgeries and six weeks of radiotherapy, followed by eight doses of chemotherapy.
With the cancer in remission, Rachel began her journey of transition back to school, with support from the neuropsychologist, occupational therapists and speech therapists. However, as the demands of schooling and psychosocial interaction increased, Rachel experienced greater difficulty keeping abreast of her peers. A neuropsychological assessment of her cognitive skills revealed a pattern commonly detected in child survivors of brain disease, and more areas requiring intervention emerged over time.
Today, with ongoing help from her neuropsychologist and family, Rachel is steadily making gains across many intellectual and academic areas. She attends a social skills training programme to help her navigate the challenging social dynamics of adolescence and life transitions, such as the move from primary to secondary school.
Children with acquired brain impairment from medical conditions often suffer late effects, over many years, as their brain matures. Promising improvements may merge into new challenges, and they require periodic reassessment of their abilities to help them attain goals and manage their learning and emotional needs.
To help more children like Rachel, KKH launched the CCF Psychosocial and Supportive Care Programme for Paediatric Oncology in 2017, with financial support from a transformational gift by the Children’s Cancer Foundation.
The transformational gift is distinguished by its unique capacity to play a significant part in creating and developing unique programmes that benefit patient care. While such transformational gifts provide the ability to propel large-scale programmes, the Development team facilitates other gifts not only to benefit patients in need, but also to honour the memory and courage of others who had bravely fought their illnesses.
CELEBRATING A LIFE WELL LIVED
During the Singapore Toy Game and Comic Convention in September 2017, amongst the throng of science fiction fans in attendance was Mr Jeremy Sim – there to sell his 20-year collection of Star Wars memorabilia and donate the proceeds of the sale to the KKH Health Fund (KKHHF). The generous gesture was in memory of his late wife, Madam Camella Fong, who had passed away in May 2017 after battling neuroendocrine metastasis cancer.
The two-day event was filled with beautiful moments. Some attendees came to support Mr Sim’s meaningful effort, while others came to offer comfort.
“Camella was a very charitable person who frequently donated to the poor and contributed milk powder to needy families with children. She believed in giving back to society,” Mr Sim shared, describing the giving nature his wife had.
“Even in death, she wished to donate her belongings to charity. But I decided to donate my precious Star Wars collection – which I have been building since I was young – instead, and keep her belongings in memorial.”
Established in 2002, the KKHHF is dedicated to raising funds for disadvantaged women and children patients who are in need of financial help for their medical expenses, in the hope of giving them the freedom to focus fully on recovering. Over the last few years, the fund disbursed an average of more than $2 million, providing much needed support to more than 600 patients annually.
During times of difficulty, help is synonymous with hope. There is dire need for both. Families struggling to take care of an ailing child or sick family member often experience much frustration and tough situations.
Philanthropic efforts from donors from all walks of life go a long way towards helping these families and individuals to know that they are not alone in their fight.
“It is a privilege to be given the chance to facilitate and create opportunities for donors and well-wishers to make a real difference to the lives of our patients. Through their generosity, they have brought hope to many of our women and paediatric patients.
"We are indeed thankful to every one of our supporters who have dedicated their time and donated their contributions to enable the best possible care that our patients can receive,” says Mr Melvin Tan, Deputy Director, Development, KKH.
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