PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE 2017/18
The year 2018 had been an eventful year for the world and our Haemophilia Society. The world of politics was tinged with unexpected turn of events. The Malaysian General Elections saw the surprising win by the Opposition which ousted the ruling party of sixty years. The world also witnessed the historic summit between two world leaders, Trump and Kim, in Singapore, sparking hope for world peace. At the medical front, promising advances in the treatment of haemophilia raised hopes for the haemophilic community. For the Society, its hard work at raising funds paid off with a healthy balance sheet for its financial year.
The Society had always been mindful of the needs of its members and how important it was to ensure that as many of them can lead normal and productive lives. For those with haemophilia, most, if not all, would have suffered varying degrees of pain in their life time. Our members would readily testify to this. However, they must not be overwhelmed by their condition. To quote haemophilia member Nicholas Lim, “ haemophilia will not hinder what I do, in whatever obstacles I face.”
Yes, that is the fighting spirit he has! That brought to mind what Napoleon Hill shared,” Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Let’s all believe in that.
The “new hope” for all haemophilia members was highlighted by Dr Joyce Lam, who returned from the WFH World Congress that was held in Scotland in May 2018. She shared the exciting news of new forms of treatment that may be available in Singapore in the near future. Of significance was the long lasting concentrate or the extended half life products, which meant fewer infusions required. There was also the non-replacement therapy that used factor mimickers, costs of which appeared prohibitive and lastly, the “Gene Therapy”, a “once-off” cure. These represent a major breakthrough and if brought to fruition at affordable costs, haemophilia sufferers can look forward to sunny days ahead.
The world celebrated World Haemophilia Day which falls on April 17 and in Singapore, the occasion was marked by a “Light It Up Red” event by Shire and a joint activity by KK Children’s Hospital and the Haemophilia Society. The 2018 global theme was “ Sharing Knowledge Makes Us Stronger “ and Shire’s panel of experts and Dr Joyce Lam from KK Children’s Hospital shared their knowledge with us.
At the community level, the Society was the beneficiary from the Hillgrove Secondary School’s community project and the Singapore Island Country Club’s May Day Charity Event. Shire too sponsored a Red Dot Art Event where funds raised were donated to the Society. To our community partners, thank you for sharing and making a difference in the lives of those whom we are helping.
Fund raising had always been a challenge for a lesser known organisation like ours. We suffered a deficit in the last financial year and resolved to raise more funds to overcome that. We launched our Project Calendar 2018 and organised a Charity Film Premiere to achieve our financial targets. The Society raised $445,195 for its financial year 2017/2018, the highest amount raised since its inception. For this, we attribute it largely to the many kind and generous donors, both new and existing, our community partners – the school, the golfing fraternity, the pharmaceutical companies, the Reuben Meyer Trust Fund, Tote Board, friends, family and well-wishers, who willingly opened their hearts and wallets in support of our haemophilic cause. With your help and support, you have made the impossible possible! To all of you, our heartfelt thanks. Your goodness and kindness have brightened the lives of those whom we are serving.
The total expenditure for the year was $281,653 of which $218,163 was expended on treatment subsidies. As the Society is helmed only by a team of dedicated volunteers and no paid staff, every dollar received benefits the haemophilia member directly.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the healthcare professionals at Singapore General Hospital, the National University Hospital and the KK Children’s Hospital for their dedication and care of the patients with haemophilia. Also to thank my Executive Committee for their hard work, contributions, expertise and volunteering selflessly for the haemophilia cause. Together, may we look forward to another fruitful year ahead.
Dr Gan Kim Loon