SINGAPORE – In Tunggal Jugat Khairul’s 15 years of working as a nurse clinician at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), he has come across many less fortunate patients who are unable to afford simple basic necessities, transportation, as well as medical treatments. So when an opportunity arose for him to help these needy patients through his favourite sporting activity, cycling, he put his hand up.
The 38-year-old said: “We treat and take care of these patients and see what they go through. Since I am able-bodied and able to cycle the 200km, I feel motivated to do this to help them.”
Tunggal is part of a team of 20 SGH doctors and staff who will be taking part in the OCBC Cycle The Sportive Virtual Ride (42km) in May to raise awareness and funds for SGH’s Needy Patients Fund to help these vulnerable patients.
In line with the hospital’s 200th anniversary, the team also cycled 200km around Singapore on March 27 to raise $200,000, braving less than ideal weather conditions that day.
Dr Janice Tan, a general surgery resident who is also part of the cycling team, echoed the same sentiments as Tunggal. She said: “I have had the privilege to see the best and worst of humanity, and to see how financial concerns are a heavy burden to these needy patients.
“We shouldn’t just treat the disease, we should treat the person with the disease. As cycling is also one of my passions, I am very motivated to continue joining (the team) in their fundraising rides.”
Set up for more than a decade, the SGH Needy Patients Fund helps about 2,000 vulnerable patients a year. With 75 per cent of these patients having a per capita income of $800 or less, the fund helps needy patients in areas of basic and critical care, such as interim dialysis, equipment, as well as treatment after existing assistance schemes like MediFund have been exhausted. More than $1 million a year is often needed to help these patients.
Tan Yoke Chang, 56, who is assistant manager at SGH’s Worklife Unit and the organiser of the cycling route for the team said: “To me, the pain that I (experience during cycling) is nothing when I think of the patients who need help.”
The team will be embarking on another 100km ride, going from SGH to Tuas Lamp Post 1, around Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and back.
And their efforts in the Sportive Ride will count towards this. The OCBC Cycle’s virtual rides will take place between May 15 and June 13.
They will also be joined by the chief executive officer of SGH, Professor Kenneth Kwek and Chairman of the Medical Board, Associate Professor Ruban Poopalalingam.
Associate Professor Terence Kee, senior consultant in SGH’s department of renal medicine and Joe Tham, project manager of facilities management, were grateful for OCBC Cycle’s support for their cause.
Kee added: “We want to continue this fund-raising opportunity. Our goal was $200k, but we need a million, so the more money raised, the more patients we are able to help and more things we are able to do. The donation limit is not really a limit, it is really how far we can go in terms of our campaign in raising money.”
The team’s fund-raising campaign runs till May 31. Visit https://www.giving.sg/sghhdf/sghhealthcareheroes for more information or to donate to the campaign. Individual doctors and staff are also raising funds on their personal giving.sg pages.
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