THREE babies and a teenager suffering from life-threatening heart defects will now have a brighter future, thanks to a charity fashion show that helped raise funds for their surgeries.
The event. “A Charity Evening with Altaroma, The Italian Fashion Dream”, was held in collaboration with Shangri-La Hotel, the Italian Trade Commission, Italian Embassy and Malaysia Tatler.
A total of RM305,000 was raised from the event, of which RM32,000 was raised through a charity auction.
Present were Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Sultanah Hajah Haminah Hamidun and Toh Puan Bendahara Kedah Toh Puan Noor Suzanna Abdullah.
Also present were the event’s organisers Datuk Rosemarie Wee and Florence Fang
“I’m thankful for this donation. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to proceed with this surgery,” said Azri Muzhafar.
The 28-year-old, who works as a despatch clerk, said his nine-month-old son Muhammad Adam Dinie was diagnosed with a hole in the heart a week after he was born.
A while later, doctors discovered another hole appearing in the heart and advised immediate surgery.
“It is not easy to look after him as he is always crying and getting sick,” he said.
Azri, who is the family’s sole breadwinner, said his son could not even go outside as he would easily get sick.
Azri, along with his 20-year-old wife Nur Suraya, were present to receive some of the funds raised to cover the surgery, which costs RM45,000.
Also in need of financial assistance was Chong Tien Yen, whose eight-month-old son is suffering from two holes in the heart.
“I needed the funds quickly and I’m so glad that there are people out there who care and are willing to help,” he said.
The sole breadwinner said his son, Chong Hao Xuan, needed surgery immediately to repair one of the two holes in the heart.
Hao Xuan stopped growing and gaining weight four months after he was born and had to be fed through a tube in his nose.
“He started gaining weight but then stopped again after two weeks. So, this surgery is really needed to save his life,” Chong said.
His wife had to stop work to look after their sick son who cries all the time.
Hao Xuan’s surgery costs about RM40,000.
The parents of 15-year-old Yap Qi Lin were also present to collect a cheque for RM50,000 for their son’s surgery.
Chia Kon Ling and her husband, Yap Meng Heng, work as hawkers in Seremban and travel to Kuala Lumpur for their son’s medical treatment.
“He had a surgery when he was one-and-a-half years old but now, he needs another one,” said Chia.
She explained that there were certain complications in Qi Lin’s heart that had to be rectified to ensure a normal life.
“Despite his heart condition, he is active in sports and loves outdoor activities,” she said.
Meanwhile, one-year-old toddler Nur Umairah Alaina Abdullah came all the way from Sabah to a hospital in Kuala Lumpur for treatment.
She suffers from four different heart defects and is in need of RM18,000 to undergo a heart surgery that can save her life.
Nur Umairah’s father, who was not able to be present to receive the cheque, is from the indigenous Tidung Murut tribe and earns only RM50 per day as a welder. Her mother is a housewife.
Apart from Nur Umairah, the couple have three other children.
The parents’ representative received the aid from Noor Suzanna.
Later, Noor Suzanna also received RM120,000 on behalf of the Kedah Natural Disaster Relief Asso-ciation.
The event was also held in celebration of Altaroma, which is Rome’s fashion week, with the latest collections by Raffaella Curiel, Accademia Di Costume E Di Moda and Renato Balestra.
Curiel is a distinguished fashion designer known for her artistic touch and sensitivity, while the world-renowned Balestra started his own label in the 1950s.
“This event was organised after we learnt about these children who are in need of dire help. So, we decided to do something for them.
“I hope more events like this will be organised in future to help more children in need of life-or-death surgeries,” said Wee, who is Shangri-La Hotel’s area director of communications.