Healthcare workers, caregivers and volunteers receive recognition for their work

Caregiver Lily Tan Geok Lan (right), 67, and her husband, retired taxi driver Cheng Kiang Cheow, 69.
Caregiver Lily Tan Geok Lan (right), 67, and her husband, retired taxi driver Cheng Kiang Cheow, 69.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE- After her husband was diagnosed with dementia in 2013 and kidney failure in 2014, Madam Lily Tan took care of him round the clock.

She attended to the needs of Mr Chng Kiang Cheow and ensured that he kept to his medical appointments and thrice-weekly dialysis sessions.

"I didn't work back then as I was afraid and worried that something might happen to him if I were not around," she told The Straits Times on Thursday (April 26).

But their financial situation soon forced Madam Tan to look for a job.

She took on various jobs, including working at a McDonald's and handing out fiyers, and had to juggle work and taking care of Mr Chng, 69. She currently works as a part-time dish collector at a hawker centre.

"I need to be strong to take care of my husband. This is my duty as his wife," said Madam Tan, 67.

She received assistance from the Touch Caregivers Support (TCG) which helped her find a day care centre for her husband and work opportunities.

Despite having many responsibilities, Madam Tan still finds time to cook for TCG staff and her neighbours, surprising them with food such as pizza and mee siam.

Madam Tan is one of the honourable mention award recipients at the Healthcare Humanity Awards 2018 held on Thursday, organised by the National Healthcare Group.

At the award ceremony were President Halimah Yacob, Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong and Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Environment and Water Resources.

The annual event recognises healthcare workers and volunteers who have displayed altruism above and beyond their call of duty.

This year, 73 individuals were lauded at the ceremony, including a new record of 11 recipients of the highest accolade - honourable mention.

"These awards provide us with an opportunity each year to publicly applaud and recognise our healthcare workers together with the community of family caregivers and volunteers who so selflessly give of their time to care for the sick, infirmed and aged of the nation," said President Halimah.

Dr Choo Bok Ai, 44, and Mr Yong Kwon Seng, 32 , were among the 11 people who received honourable mention for their contributions.

Dr Choo, senior consultant at the National University Cancer Institute Singapore (NCIS), founded two cancer support groups for patients and their caregivers. He also spearheaded the Befriender's Programme in 2012, which provides a platform for cancer survivors to exchange knowledge and experiences with newly diagnosed patients.

Dr Choo currently helms Dream Makers, an initiative that aims to fulfil the wishes of terminally-ill cancer patients.

"Life is not just about work, life is about helping others. Every day, we have the opportunity to do good and help someone more in need than us," said Dr Choo.

Mr Yong, a primary school teacher, has been volunteering at the Institute of Mental Health for the past seven years. He leads volunteers in planning activities for long-stay patients and also started a monthly flea market where patients learn to manage the stalls.

He also helps mentally disadvantaged patients in nursing homes and patients at the Singapore Leprosy Relief Association.

"I think this award is an honour as there are so many volunteers who have put in a lot of time and for me to get selected is really a privilege," said Mr Yong.