PETALING JAYA, Jan 6 — This is generosity at its best.
In slightly more than 24 hours when a desperate Ivan Chong posted about how his friend, Edward Lee needed money for his injured wife, kind Malaysians stepped up and met the RM350,000 mark.
Well-wishers donated RM300,000 and the remaining RM50,000 is from the couple’s savings.
Chong had taken to Facebook on the morning of January 5 to crowdfund for Lee.
“With the support of everyone we achieved our target. As of 1.45 pm today, the donations have exceeded RM300,000,” said Chong.
He added that the call for donations was now closed but any extra money received would be channelled back to various charities.
“It’s a really awesome effort from everyone. Thank you for your support.”
Lee’s wife Vivienne Ngiu had been badly injured in a car accident on New Year’s Eve when the family was on their way for a family vacation with their four-year-old son, Chevaston.
In a reflex reaction, Lee swerved to avoid hitting a dog on the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Expressway, which led to the vehicle losing control, crashing into a divider and overturned.
Lee suffered a nasty gash to his head, while their son was uninjured, but the accident left his wife Ngiu with multiple spinal fractures, several broken ribs, a fractured left scapula and a head concussion.
Ngiu is now in a state of Complete Paraplegia and has lost complete motor and sensory function from the chest down.
While the family is grappling with the severity of Ngiu’s injuries, they also have an additional worry as she is uninsured.
Her treatment so far has already critically depleted their entire life savings.
Having known the childhood sweethearts for almost three decades, best friend Chong decided to step in and seek for help to fund Ngiu’s treatments.
“They are some of the kindest people that I have met and are selfless in helping others in their time of need regardless of their situation,” said Chong.
“Edward does not like imposing this burden on his friends and others, but as a friend who they’ve helped before, I feel I have to step up and get people to help them,
“They are shy and wouldn’t want to ask others for help, so to return the many favours they have done for me, I will do it for them.”
Ngiu’s expected period of recovery can take up to two years, with aggressive physiotherapy to facilitate her rehabilitation, but even then may never dance again.
Ngiu and Lee, who have been together for nearly 24 years, run a humble ballet and dance academy in SS18, Subang Jaya called Dancer’s Dreams Dance Academy, but Ngiu may now not be able to work anymore and may require the assistance of a wheelchair.
With medical costs set to be more than a quarter of a million ringgit, Chong urged the public to help his friends in need so that even if Ngiu can’t dance anymore, she can at least be an able-bodied mother to her only son.
“I’ve known these guys since we were all in school. We used to always hang out at Padang Assam after school, it’s a landmark fondly known to all of us and that they have shared with their son,” said Chong.
Chong added that many potential donors had questioned their reasoning for sending Ngiu to a more expensive private hospital, instead of a government hospital where treatment may be cheaper.
He said while the nearest hospital to the accident site was the Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital in Seremban, there were no doctors there to treat her because it was New Year’s Eve.
“So, we decided to not wait and look for another hospital, and Dr Chooi from Ara Damansara Medical Centre agreed to help.”
He added that they will look to transfer Ngiu to a government hospital once her condition stabilised.
Donors will be kept updated on her current medical expenditure and status, to qualm the nerves of any potential donors.
“To ensure transparency of monies received and being put to use of treatment, a full disclosure of expenditures will be shared,” said Chong.
“Edward and his family are extremely grateful and overwhelmed by the generosity of Malaysians who donated financially and also, of those who helped spread the word.
“His father was in disbelief at the generosity of our Malaysian society and sounded as if he was tearing up over the phone wondering where the money was coming from.”
Ngiu underwent a seven-hour surgery on January 2 to realign and stabilise her spine, with 12 screws and several rods put in place, as she is set to spend a long time in the ICU for recovery, which can take up to three to four months, after aggressive physiotherapy.
“The spinal surgeon told them that it is highly likely that she will forever require the assistance of a wheelchair, meaning that she will no longer be able to dance and teach ballet,” said Chong.