The National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS)
As Pilates In The Park draws near, sign ups are going well, and with fantastic partners on board, we are looking forward to a fun-filled event this National Day morning. While we do have a good time, let’s keep in mind that this event is to raise awareness and funds for the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) Cancer Fund. Exactly what do they do and who do they help? Meet Chng Li Ming, Senior Assistant Manager of Operations & Administration who tells us more about what she does, and if we will see her at PITP!
Hi Li Ming, thank you for taking the time today to tell us more about the NCIS. In a few sentences, could you sum up what the NCIS Cancer Fund does?
The NCIS Cancer Fund, a fundraising program under the NUHS Fund Limited, provides for financially needy patients, cancer research and education. For patients, they are referred to the fund via medical social workers, where the means testing assessment is conducted before they are considered for financial assistance. Patients are eligible to be considered for funding under the NCIS Cancer Fund, after they have exhausted all means of funding via the various public assistance schemes.
How long have you been working with the NCIS and what drives you to work everyday?
I have been working on fund raising and management for more than 3 years now. To be able to play a role to help cancer-stricken patients coming from different financial situations and backgrounds, be it single parents, low-income families with multiple dependents, low-income elderly or even young adults fresh out of school with no savings and incarcerated family members, is what motivates and drives me.
How many patients does the NCIS Cancer Fund help every year?
More than 100 patients per year. Just in the last financial year alone, we helped 123 patients.
Can you share with us (without sharing names) any heartwarming or heart wrenching stories that you’ve encountered at the NCIS?
I spoke to a beneficiary of the NCIS Cancer Fund, Mdm Zhang, aged 68. Her first application to the Fund was in 2007, when the pain in her spine caused her to undergo surgery and she found out that she has Multiple Myeloma, a type of blood cancer. In 2010, she underwent a bone marrow transplant and in 2015, she had a relapse and applied to the NCIS Cancer Fund again for chemotherapy.
Single and living with her sister, the two of them have been battling a series of family health troubles for many years now. Her sister’s father-in-law is in a nursing home and her brother-in-law has passed away from cancer. The years of fighting diseases and accumulation of healthcare bills in the family have severely drained their resources. Mdm Zhang is unable to work due to her medical condition and her sister is only earning $2,000 per month.
Mdm Zhang is one of those patients that sometimes fall through the gaps in the social safety net. She is very grateful for the medical funding she can get, as it is really beyond her means to afford the chemotherapy treatment. Due to kind contributions towards the NCIS Cancer Fund, she can now focus on treatment and staying active.
What exactly is cancer research and education, and why do we need to fund that?
When it comes to the NCIS Cancer Fund, our main focus is actually on financially needy patients as over 90% of the funds utilised every year is for patients. However, we do provide funding to cancer research and education needs at the NCIS as well. For cancer research, it involves funding deserving cancer research projects that can potentially bring about advancements and discoveries for cancer treatments. On the other hand, cancer education involves funding cancer patient support group activities, public education awareness as well as staff education on cancer knowledge and awareness.
Will you be coming for Pilates In The Park?
Yes! You will see me there armed with brochures and if you wish to ask me more about the NCIS Cancer funds or talk about how you can potentially help in the fight against cancer, feel free to approach me!
For more information on the NCIS and the NCIS Cancer Fund, you can visit www.ncis.com.sg.
For donations to the NCIS Cancer Fund, please visit www.giving.sg/campaigns/PITP This link will be opened from 1 August 2016 to 9 September 2016. All funds will go directly to the NCIS.
All images used in this article are copyright and have been reproduced with permission from the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (www.ncis.com.sg).
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