Philanthropy is rooted in the history of the Singapore General Hospital (SGH). Early notable gifts included a transformational gift from Parsi philanthropist, Mr Navroji R Mistri, who in 1952, donated $950,000 to improve the conditions of medical care for disenfranchised communities after he witnessed many patients housed at the corridors of the hospital instead of wards. Mistri Wing which he helped to build for patients, is the present-day Diabetes and Metabolism Centre at SGH.
Since its humble beginnings 200 years ago, SGH underwent numerous transformations to keep pace with the health needs of Singaporeans. Through the years, philanthropy continues to play a vital role in helping SGH advance medical care and knowledge, and bring hope to patients. These acts of generosity are also emulated by SGH staff who, year after year, raise funds for the SGH Needy Patients Fund.
SGH serves over 1 million Singaporeans annually and many of them are subsidised patients. The SGH Needy Patients Fund supports these patients cover the cost of critical clinical care and indirect medical costs after exhausting all possible public assistance schemes.
The hospital requires about $1 million each year to support its patients in need. To commemorate SGH bicentennial in 2021, the hospital’s Work-Life Unit organised the SGH Bicentennial Ride 'n Walk in support of the SGH Needy Patients Fund.
The organising team recruited 19 committed and passionate cyclists to kick-start the campaign. They comprised doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and administrators who pledged to cycle a symbolic 200km around Singapore to raise awareness and funds for the cause. The cycling team which included, SGH CEO Professor Kenneth Kwek and Associate Professor Ruban Poopalalingam, Chairman, Medical Board at SGH, trained over six weeks in preparation for their 200km ride.
“I love doing endurance sports and have participated in many of them but riding 200km in one day is definitely something I had not attempted before,” said Dr Janice Tan, General Surgery Resident, SGH, one of the 19 cyclists. “In preparation, I did my regular workouts and joined the team for weekly long rides whenever my schedule permitted. It was a great opportunity for me to combine my passion with a purpose,” she said.
On 27 March 2021, the team set out before dawn and cycled over 12 hours, braving less than ideal weather conditions, to complete the 200km. “There was such a strong sense of passion and camaraderie among the team,” shared Dr Tan, “Everyone wanted to do their part to raise awareness and funds to help some of the most vulnerable among our patients access life-saving treatments.”
<< Dr Janice Tan (above) ready to being the 200km cycle
Many staff members also supported the campaign by participating in the walking segment of the event. Dr Chew Li Ching and Dr Ng Chin Teck, both senior consultants at SGH’s Rheumatology and Immunology Department raised more than $4,000 for the SGH Needy Patients Fund, which was twice their original target. The two doctors, together with a friend and Dr Chew’s mother, collectively walked 800,000 steps for the cause. “Every gift makes a difference to our patients and their families when they are going through arduous times,” said Dr Chew. “We wanted to do our part and we are heartened by our colleagues, friends and family who pledged their support for this cause,” she added.
Through the collective efforts of staff, friends and benefactors spreading the power of doing good together, the SGH Bicentennial Ride 'n Walk event raised over $200,000, which is sufficient to cover about 20% of this year’s funding needs for patients who require financial assistance. More than 400 donors pledged their support for SGH’s mission of placing patients at the heart of all they do and lent their support.
The SGH bicentennial celebrations continue with the launch of the #SGHOneKindAct social movement to champion acts of kindness – big and small – for colleagues, patients, loved ones and the community. To be part of this movement and show kindness to a patient in need, make a gift today via https://www.giving.sg/sghhdf/sghneedypatientsfund!