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Singapore, 22 October 2023 – The National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) held its signature charity gala dinner at The Ritz Carlton, Millenia, Singapore, tonight, with Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister of Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat, as the Guest of Honour. Over 700 guests attended the dinner to support NCCS' vision to improve cancer care, advance cancer research and enable more cancer survivors to live longer and live well.
Themed 'Celebrating the Past, Building Hope for the Future', the dinner was an opportunity to thank donors and partners who helped to lay the strong foundation that NCCS has built over the last 20 years and to herald a new era in cancer care with the official opening of the new NCCS building earlier this year.
Meeting complex and unprecedented needs
At the event, a transformational gift of $20 million pledged by Mrs Margaret Lien was announced to establish the Lien Ying Chow Endowment Fund, in memory of her late husband, Mr Lien Ying Chow, a highly respected philanthropist. The Fund aims to improve patients' overall quality of life by enabling access to services to meet acute and complex needs, enhance caregiver sustainability, and reduce financial hardship.
While financial assistance is available for needy patients, aid does not typically cover the cost of psychosocial needs beyond treatment. The Lien Ying Chow Endowment Fund aims to plug gaps in need by providing financial and psychosocial support for acute and complex necessities that will help the recovery process and improve overall quality of life. Examples of ways the Fund can help vulnerable patients include funding home improvements that patients may need due to their disease condition, and assistance to purchase mobility aids or medical equipment needed.
"An anonymous quote which resonates with me deeply says 'Medical support keeps one alive, social and psychological support enables one to live'. The goal of the Lien Ying Chow Endowment Fund is to uplift vulnerable patients and their families during their time of greatest need, so that they are empowered to go through cancer treatment and recover with dignity. The hope is that the improvement in their quality of life will create a positive ripple effect and build a society that cares about the wellbeing of others in the community," said Mrs Margaret Lien.
Philanthropy and community involvement uplifts patients in need
The incidence of cancer in Singapore has risen with more than 84,000 new cases between 2017 and 2021, with this number expected to increase in the years ahead. Therefore, community involvement and philanthropy are key to improving care and support for those affected by the disease.
"With more Singaporeans being affected by cancer, strong philanthropic support helps to establish programmes that provide much-needed support to patients and their caregivers and enables clinicians and scientists to pursue impactful cancer research that will improve health outcomes," said Professor William Hwang, Chief Executive Officer, NCCS. "We are grateful for the support of like-minded individuals who share NCCS' vision to offer hope to those affected by cancer."
Coming together for a cancer-free tomorrow
At the charity dinner, DPM Heng also witnessed the presentation of two other transformative gifts. The Goh Foundation pledged a $6.35 million gift to establish the Goh Foundation INnovation in Supportive and Palliative CaRE Programme (INSPiRE). INSPiRE will empower patients and their loved ones with a comprehensive needs-based health coaching programme, and grief and bereavement support programme, and is complemented by a supportive and palliative care database, academic fund, and professorship. New Century Foundation presented a generous $1 million gift to enable clinicians and scientists to harness technology, such as Artificial Intelligence, to introduce innovations in cancer research and care to improve health outcomes.
At the event, an original artwork entitled "In Full Bloom", painted by 74-year-old Mdm Ann Sim, a breast cancer survivor treated at NCCS, was presented to DPM Heng as a token of appreciation. Separate from the over $27 million in transformative gifts announced, the charity dinner event raised more than $2 million.