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Mr Lim Yew Koon, 60, travels to Singapore General Hospital almost every other week.
A leukaemia survivor, Mr Lim underwent a stem-cell transplant in 2020. Transplant patients usually require long-term care after their transplant. They often have weak immune systems and complications that require regular follow-up with their doctors and costly medications until their conditions are stable.
The journey by bus from his flat in Teck Whye takes an hour, but the distance and duration isn’t a problem for Mr Lim. It is the effort of walking from the bus stop to the clinic that leaves him breathless and exhausted.
Due to his condition, Mr Lim tires easily. He is also prone to spells of vertigo. What otherwise seems like a simple walk, is a challenge which requires frequent breaks along the way. Once, he arrived at the clinic with elevated blood pressure due to the exertion. With the COVID-19 situation, the bus trips became even more of a concern because of his weaker immune system. But Mr Lim was reluctant to make the trip by taxi as a single trip would cost between $16 to $17.
Previously Mr Lim worked as a cleaner, but his health woes made it difficult for him to continue. His wife, who used to shuttle home during her lunch break to check on him, later stopped work to be his full time caregiver. He said, “By taxi, each visit would cost us nearly $40. That is a lot of money.”
Finances have been a constant source of worry for Mr and Mrs Lim since his diagnosis in November 2019. He had always been in generally good health, until sudden chest pains prompted his admission to SGH’s Emergency Department. The subsequent diagnosis came as a shock. His fears were not for his own well-being, but that of the family’s. Not wishing to alarm his aged parents and older siblings who were themselves facing health issues, he kept the bad news from them. He and his wife were also concerned about burdening their two sons who were not yet financially independent.
To alleviate the family’s burden, medical social worker, Ms Pearline Koe who has been supporting Mr and Mrs Lim through their recovery journey applied for financial assistance from the TRUEfund for his taxi transport to and from the hospital.
“TRUE” stands for Transplant Research, Unique care and Education. Established in 2010, the fund is set up for the benefit of needy transplant patients, public education campaigns for organ/tissue donation and transplantation, and transplantation research initiatives.
“One of TRUEfund’s objectives is to provide financial assistance to transplant patients in areas that are overlooked by other sources of funding. In the period immediately after they receive their transplant, their weakened immunity and frequent visits to the doctor make it difficult for them to get an employment. TRUEfund helps these patients tide over this period of financial difficulty, until they are able to regain financial independence.” says Associate Professor Prema Raj Jeyaraj, Head, SingHealth Duke-NUS Transplant Centre.
“Getting help with transport costs was a huge relief. Without the aid, I would have cut back on visits to save money. We are grateful for the help.” says Mr Lim.
To find out more about the TRUEfund and how it helps transplant patients like Mr Lim and advances medical science, visit https://www.singhealth.com.sg/patient-care/specialties-services/sd-transplant-centre/fundraising.
To make a gift, visit https://www.giving.sg/singhealth-fund/gift_of_life_gift_of_hope or contact the SingHealth Duke-NUS Transplant Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org