IPOH: Watching a baby boy stricken with cancer die as a medical team at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh fought to save his life several months ago was a life-changing experience for comedian Louis Sebastian.
Shocked and heartbroken by what he had witnessed, Louis founded the inaugural International Ipoh Fashion Week (IIFW) 2017 which was held in October through which RM50,000 was raised for the hospital’s paediatric department for use by its cancer patients.
As a parent, Louis said he understood the immense grief the boy’s parents must have felt and that gave him the resolve to do something to help.
“This was when I decided to showcase IIFW as a platform to generate funds for the benefit of the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital’s paediatric cancer care unit as part of our corporate social responsibility,” he said.
The efforts of Louis and his wife, Adeline Khan, however, were not without setbacks.
“In the course of filming the children at the cancer unit and appealing for funds, many people seemed to take a suspicious view of any efforts related to charity. Many people erroneously believe that government hospitals don’t need any more funding due to government subsidies but this is not true.
“As it is, the medical staff are overworked to do the best they can for a massive number of patients who flood the hospital on a daily basis,” Louis said before handing over a four-channel patient monitor, two units of syringe perfusors and two units of volumetric perfusors purchased with the funds raised on Tuesday.
Thanking the organisers of IIFW and the public for the gifts, paediatric department head Datuk Dr Amar-Singh HSS said the equipment would improve the care delivered to children with cancer.
“On average, 70 to 80 children are detected with a malignancy each year in Perak. At least 25 will have leukaemia, about 10 with brain tumour and another 10 with lymphoma.
“The visits by these children can reach up to 3,000 times a year with 2,500 procedures, such as bone marrow examinations, transfusions, central venous line insertions and intrathecal chemotherapy, being conducted.
“We need large volumes of equipment because it not only takes away the burden from our nurses but also improves the quality of our patients’ lives,” he added.
Dr Amar-Singh said unlike adults, up to 80% of childhood cancers could be effectively treated with chemotherapy.
“Most children with cancer go on to have a full lifespan provided they receive early treatment,” he said.
Plans are afoot to make the IIFW event an annual affair with a Bollywood theme being planned for next year.