The fund-raising campaign by the family of late S-League footballer Nur Alam Shah ended last night with almost $190,000 raised to pay for his son Muhammad Royyan's operation for a rare heart defect and to support the family.
They had initially been targeting a sum of $120,000, but last Friday, the 38-year-old Alam Shah, a former Woodlands Wellington player who worked as a limousine driver and was the family's sole breadwinner, died of a heart attack.
Public donations for the four-year-old jumped after the tragic news. His widow, Madam Azean Aziz, revised the target for the donation drive to $170,000, to also help support the family. Yesterday, she thanked those who opened their hearts and wallets.
"I'm truly touched by the support given to our family," wrote Madam Azean, who has two other children, aged eight and 14, on the Give.asia crowdfunding platform.
Royyan suffers from hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a rare heart defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart. He already had two operations at the National University Hospital, which has been caring for the youngster since 2014.
Madam Azean wrote that while the family receives public grants for Royyan's medical care, his case "is very complicated" and he would need a surgeon from the private sector to conduct his future surgery. The money raised will also go towards the boy's care for the next three years.
She said she lost her five-month-old daughter to HLHS in 2008 and "we don't want to lose our son".
Close to this amount was raised by last night for Muhammad Royyan, son of late S-League footballer Nur Alam Shah.
Meanwhile, NUH told The Straits Times that the family has not had to make any out-of-pocket payments for Royyan's treatments so far. It is also unlikely that they will have to do so for the upcoming surgery subject to approval from the Medifund Committee.
A spokesman said: "Given the financial status of the family, the patient has been on full Medifund assistance for the last four years. Based on our records, there have been no out-of-pocket hospital expenses required for his medical treatments at NUH.
"Given the subsidised status of the patient, we had estimated the bill size of the upcoming surgery to be in the range of $20,000. This would have been covered by Medisave and MediShield Life.
"Any outstanding amount would be assessed for eligibility for Medifund assistance, based on the family's prevailing financial circumstances."
Medifund is a safety net for patients who have difficulty paying their remaining bills after receiving subsidies and drawing on other means of payment, including MediShield Life and Medisave.
Give.asia said it verifies a beneficiary's needs by carrying out a video interview with the fund-raiser and beneficiary, as well as "reviewing financial, medical status and documents".
Co-founder Aseem Thakur said: "The family told me they were thinking of getting treatment done at a private hospital.
"We don't provide any medical advice as to whether they should have private or public care. Our role is to connect them to donors."
Correction note: In an earlier version of the story, we said that NUH told The Straits Times that the family is unlikely to have to make any out-of-pocket payments for Royyan's upcoming treatment. NUH has since clarified that it cannot pre-commit the position of the Medifund Committee even before eligibility of Medifund assistance is assessed. All applications for Medifund are considered and approved by the Medifund Committee which considers and approves, and decides on the quantum.