Donations for late footballer's son rise

The late Nur Alam Shah with his family (from left) son Haziq Shah, 14; four-year-old Muhammad Royyan; wife Azean Aziz; and eight-year-old daughter Auni Syahindah.
The late Nur Alam Shah with his family (from left) son Haziq Shah, 14; four-year-old Muhammad Royyan; wife Azean Aziz; and eight-year-old daughter Auni Syahindah.PHOTO: COURTESY OF AZEAN AZIZ

Four-year-old has severe congenital heart defect and needs surgery to replace a valve

After former S-League footballer Nur Alam Shah died of a heart attack last Friday, the 38-year-old's family hoped that the public would come to their aid.

The ex-Woodlands Wellington player, who worked as a limousine driver and was the family's sole breadwinner, had been raising funds for his four-year-old son Muhammad Royyan, who needs surgery for a rare heart defect.

Yesterday - one day after news of the tragedy was made public - donations for the youngster had doubled to more than $130,000.

This passed the family's initial $120,000 target and the footballer's widow, Madam Azean Aziz, has revised it to $170,000. Donations were last night said to be around the $160,000 mark.

In an update on the Give.asia page yesterday, she wrote: "We hope to seek your kind understanding as we've adjusted our target slightly higher to tide us 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 for our family."

Royyan has hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which affects blood flow. It is a severe congenital defect in which the left ventricle, the chamber of the heart that pumps blood out into the body, does not develop properly.

He has had two operations and needs a third, to replace a valve in his heart, according to his mother.

The median cost of cardiac surgery for children is about $100,000,before follow-up costs.

Mr Alam Shah started non-profit Combine Schools Football Club last year to provide free football coaching to kids of all backgrounds.

Former Singapore international Ali Imran Lomri, 42, who helped him, said: "We really thank the media for raising awareness for the family and we never expected such an overwhelming response."

Ali hopes the club will continue. "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."

Football Association of Singapore (FAS) acting general secretary Yazeen Buhari told The Straits Times: "The FAS Council and management are deeply saddened about former Woodlands Wellington FC player Alam Shah's passing.

"Alam Shah's contributions to football through coaching young players, in particular in the non-profit Combine Schools FC, were very admirable and inspirational.

"The FAS is in talks with the Combine Schools FC to organise a charity game to help raise funds for Mr Alam Shah's family.

"We will be inviting the public to contribute to fundraising efforts for a member of the Singapore football family who gave so much of himself to our beloved sport."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2018, with the headline 'Donations for late footballer's son rise'. Print Edition | Subscribe