Generosity, truly a sight to behold

Generosity, truly a sight to behold
"Generosity, truly a sight to behold"

The Bukit Tinggi Medical Centre (BTMC) has been collaborating with the Rotary Club of Klang Central (RCKC) in the Gift of Sight (GOS) project over the past three years.

Due to my active involvement in the project, I have been asked repeatedly if I am a Rotarian. No, I do not serve as a Rotarian. I prefer to think of myself as a humanitarian.

I have been offered to become a Rotary member numerous times, but had to decline as I am unable to commit to their weekly meetings due to the nature of my work and other commitments.

The Rotarians even offered an alternative – that I be made an honorary member, where I don’t have to attend the weekly meetings. But I felt it was not right for me to take up the offer, as such a move could set a ‘not-so-right’ precedent. As far as I’m concerned, I will continue my service irrespective of my status.

And that is evident through the GOS project. RCKC and BTMC have managed to touch the lives of 120 recipients nationwide. We have served those in Penang, all the way down south, in Johor.

Many of the recipients have become active members of their communities once their sight is restored.

A total of 120 individuals with 120 different stories to tell. It has not been easy, but with the help of all those involved, it has been a steady move forward.

Being the only ophthalmologist currently involved in GOS, allocating the time for screening, and posting for surgery and post-operative reviews are all done well in advance, so as to not disrupt my work schedules.

For this, I have to thank my clinic, the daycare, and operation theatre staff at BTMC. Of course, I must pay tribute to the hospital’s senior management team, led by chief executive officer, Jasmine Lau. She has been a pillar of support throughout. The corporate sponsor for GOS, Alcon Malaysia’s contribution of the intraocular lenses and surgical consumables is deeply appreciated.

We have managed to fine-tune the whole process to make it seamless for the GOS recipients. Every case has been a revelation of how many individuals out there who require surgical correction to restore sight, and the difficulties they face.

Our public health system is overwhelmed due to the sheer number of patients. This is where the private medical sector, collaborating with service-oriented organisations like Rotary and Lions Club, can help lighten the burden of the public system in the fight against reversible blindness.

The reality is that funding these endeavours is not easy, without the generosity of the people. RCKC has organised golf tournaments and other activities to raise funds for their community projects. The underlying motivation for generosity may differ from person to person, but the act of giving has a profound impact on both the giver and the recipient.

The common factors for generosity are empathy, gratitude, social norms, altruism, personal values, and beliefs. All these factors are in abundance in the family of the late Tan Hin Toe.

Tan and his spouse Linda Chee Bee Neo (main image, left) have been under my care for the last 12 years. Chee receives my updates on GOS. I suppose this motivated her in wanting to donate to the GOS project in memory of her late husband.

Chee reached out and I connected her with RCKC, as they are the managers of the fund. I was surprised at the quantum donated. It was RM10,000. It was a very substantial and generous amount, given by a very gracious, loving, charitable, and kind-hearted family in honour of a loving husband and father.

BTMC and RCKC organised a formal ceremony to give due respect and recognition to Tan’s family. I hope there will be others who will emulate such a kind gesture, and contribute to the project. This will help in the ongoing battle against reversible blindness. The ceremony was even documented by Twentytwo13.

I pray that other ophthalmologists, hospitals, stand-alone eye centres, and ophthalmic-related corporate entities can collaborate with organisations on similar projects.

This will certainly help reach out to a bigger pool of needy individuals. We at BTMC strive for the right for sight.

God bless the family of the late Tan Hin Toe. Rest in peace, my friend. Your legacy will live on through the sight-restored eyes of the GOS recipients.

Those wanting to donate or be part of the GOS project, kindly contact RCKC at +60192134049 (Nagendran) or +60162614129 (Mahendran).

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