SINGAPORE - Donations for the son of former S-League footballer Nur Alam Shah doubled to more than $130,000 overnight, it was revealed on Tuesday (May 22) - just a day after news broke of his death from a heart attack.
The 38-year-old former Woodlands Wellington player, who died last Friday, had been raising funds so that his son Royyan could undergo surgery for a rare heart defect.
He had set a target of raising at least $120,000 through fundraising site Give.asia. His widow, Madam Azean Aziz, has since revised the target upwards, to $170,000.
As of midday on Tuesday, public donations had reached about $136,000.
Providing an update on the Give.asia page, she wrote: “ He has been working very hard to help take care of the family, as he’s the sole breadwinner of the family.
“We hope to seek your kind understanding as we’ve adjusted our target slightly higher for us to tide through this tough period. Thanks to the donors here, and GIVE.asia for helping us, as I’m still emotionally feeling unstable given that I’ve just lost my husband.
“The account for the donation had been transferred to me, so I will manage the funds for Royyan’s surgery, which is scheduled for this year.
“Thanks again for your kind support to our family.”
Former Singapore international Ali Imran Lomri, 42, who assisted Alam Shah in running the non-profit Combine Schools Football Club, which was set up last year, told The Straits Times: "I was told this morning that the target was reached and I was really so shocked and happily surprised that people came together to help the family in such a way.
"We really thank the media for raising awareness for the family and we never expected such an overwhelming response. We are very grateful and now the next step is to ensure that Royyan undergoes a successful surgery."
Royyan suffers from hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a rare heart defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart.
It is a rare but severe congenital heart defect in which the left ventricle, the chamber of the heart that pumps blood out into the body, does not develop properly.
Royyan has already undergone two previous operations to alleviate the condition but he needs to undergo a third, to replace a valve in his heart, according to Madam Azean.
Meanwhile, Ali has said that he will look to keep Alam Shah's passion for sport going.
Combine Schools Football Club was set up with the aim of providing free football coaching to kids. There are currently about 90 children in the club.
Ali is adamant that the club will continue to run.
"I will need to sit down and discuss with Alam Shah's wife on what the plans are for the club," he said.
"For sure, we will keep his dream going and help to train and guide young footballers."