Singaporean woman raises over $239k to get comatose father home from Tokyo

Ms Cheong's father had a heart attack in Tokyo and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Toho University Omori Medical Center on April 19, 2017.
Ms Cheong's father had a heart attack in Tokyo and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Toho University Omori Medical Center on April 19, 2017. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GIVE.ASIA

SINGAPORE - A 25-year-old Singaporean woman who turned to crowdfunding to help get her severely ill father home from Tokyo has successfully raised more than $239,000 in a matter of days.

Ms Eileen Cheong wrote in her campaign on fundraising platform Give.Asia that her family had flown to Tokyo, Japan, on April 19 to celebrate her mother's cancer remission. However, shortly after arriving in Tokyo, Ms Cheong's father had a heart attack.

He was resuscitated and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Toho University Omori Medical Center on April 19 and was placed on mechanical support.

"We were told that his heart was beating irregularly and stopped for an extended period of time, causing his brain to suffer permanent damage," Ms Cheong wrote. She cited Japanese doctors who said they could not determine how long her father would stay comatose.

As the family could not handle the high hospital bills - they owe the hospital approximately S$120,000 and counting - Ms Cheong turned to crowdfunding for help.

She asked for donations to help arrange for a medical evacuation for her dad, and detailed her family's finances and the costs involved in the operation.

So far, $239.247.69 has been raised by 2,997 people. However, the campaign has ended as Ms Cheong said in an update on Saturday (April 29) that she reached her campaign target of $250,000 at 1pm on Saturday, with private donations included.

In her thank you note, Ms Cheong wrote: "Dear all, thank you very much for the support and help that you have given to my family. We did not expect to raise the sums in such a short amount of time (for which we are truly grateful), and we are also very thankful to the friends, my ex-schools and the companies that have reached out to offer us advice and help (be it financial, or arrangements for the medical evacuation)."

She thanked those who helped spread the news about her campaign, and said she would update the page with the latest on her father's situation.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told The Straits Times on Saturday that it is aware of the incident. 

"The Singapore Embassy in Tokyo is rendering the necessary consular assistance to the family," said the spokesman.

The Straits Times has reached out to Ms Cheong for more information.