DPM Heng Swee Keat joins heritage walk that raises $1m for TTSH fund

Participants along Eu Tong Sen Road during Tan Tock Seng Hospital's charity heritage walk yesterday. The 8km route, which goes past significant places in Tan Tock Seng's life, was organised to mark the hospital's 175th anniversary. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LI
Participants along Eu Tong Sen Road during Tan Tock Seng Hospital's charity heritage walk yesterday. The 8km route, which goes past significant places in Tan Tock Seng's life, was organised to mark the hospital's 175th anniversary. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said he has been a "big beneficiary" of Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), and also noted the important role the hospital has played in Singapore's history.

Following a stroke during a Cabinet meeting in 2016, Mr Heng - also the Minister for Finance - underwent surgery at TTSH and was hospitalised there for six weeks.

Yesterday, Mr Heng took part in an 8km charity heritage walk, held to mark the hospital's 175th anniversary.

Named Tan Tock Seng's Journey after the hospital's founder - 19th-century businessman and philanthropist Tan Tock Seng - the walk took almost 2,000 participants from Pearl's Hill - the hospital's original site - to its current location in Novena.

The walk raised $1 million for the TTSH community fund, which supports needy patients requiring medical aids, as well as medical research and community health initiatives.

Set up in 1995, the fund has more than 100 patient-centred programmes.

The fund supports more than 2,500 needy families and disburses more than $2 million each year.

Yesterday, Mr Heng met and thanked some of the doctors and nurses who took care of him in 2016, noting they still remembered his craving for coffee after his surgery.

Adding that there were three different care teams that looked after him across the three daily hospital shifts, he said: "So I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for taking such good care of me, my wife and my family during this period."

Citing a recent report which found Singaporeans had the longest life expectancy in the world at 84.8 years, Mr Heng said people here need to be better prepared to stay healthy in their old age.

He noted that Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and his team, together with healthcare professionals here, are working on helping senior citizens to continue to stay active and healthy.

"We are shifting from just healthcare to health. Let's do all of that together," said Mr Heng.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2019, with the headline 'Heng joins heritage walk that raises $1m for TTSH fund'. Print Edition | Subscribe