Have a Heart

A hospice appeal

Have a Heart, Please Bid – an appeal

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Donor gives holiday home to hospice

By Salma Khalik, Health Correspondent
Straits Times, 11 March 2009
Ms Anna Wang has donated her 1,000 sq ft unit at the Berjaya resort in Tioman Island to the Dover Park Hospice. — ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
MS ANNA Wang wanted to do something for charity, so she decided to give away her holiday home on Malaysia’s Tioman Island.Now the Dover Park Hospice, the recipient of her generosity, is looking for someone to buy the 1,000 sq ft studio apartment at the resort.

Ms Wang, in her 60s, bought the unit for RM300,000 more than a decade ago. She used to go there every month, but not in recent years.

When her friend, former Mexican ambassador to Singapore Eduardo Ramos-Gomez, was helping the hospice in a fund-raising gala last year, he approached her.

Her island getaway came to mind and she thought: ‘I’m not using it. It’s a white elephant. But it could help someone.’

What really clinched the deal was the date of the charity gala – Sept 12, her birthday.

A retired remisier, Ms Wang has two grown-up children and is thankful her investments have not been affected much by the current economic meltdown.

Since her retirement two decades ago, she has turned her energies to supporting charities through art.

In 2003, her book, A-Musical 59 – Feather On The Breath Of God, raised $60,000 for the National Kidney Foundation’s Children’s Medical Fund.

The following year, she wrote lyrics for and helped organise and promote the L’Enfant Sauvage (wild child) concert in aid of the Children’s Cancer Foundation.

Said Ms Wang of her latest act of charity: ‘It is good to do our bit for society, and what better way than to contribute to a cause for senior citizens?’

Ms Wang and Dover Park are asking for at least $100,000 for the Berjaya resort unit, which has a lease that expires in 2076. The added benefit: membership at Berjaya’s 18-hole golf course.

The 40-bed hospice needs the funds. Last year, it spent $4 million easing the last days of about 440 terminally-ill patients. While most patients pay $40 a day or less, Ms Teo Siew Hong, the hospice’s chief operating officer, said the real cost is almost $300 a day per patient.

Besides relying on donations, the hospice has investment income from an endowment fund of more than $16 million. In the last financial year, it also received $1.46 million in government grants.

This is the first time it has received such a gift. Cash gifts are common, with about 250 people and corporations donating more than $1,000 each last year.

One donor, however, splashed out on 120 baby koi for the hospice pond last year. The fish are just as appreciated.

Mr Han Boon Kwang, who works on community programmes for the hospice, said: ‘Many patients feel a sense of peace by just watching the fish swimming in the pond.’

salma@sph.com.sg

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