Challenging times for Subang Jaya ballet teacher and family on the road to recovery

Edward Lee (right) has a lot on his plate but still finds the time to take his son Chevaston to the park whenever he can. ― Picture courtesy of Edward Lee
Edward Lee (right) has a lot on his plate but still finds the time to take his son Chevaston to the park whenever he can. ― Picture courtesy of Edward Lee

PETALING JAYA, March 16 — Life hasn’t been easy lately for Edward Lee.

Juggling work and taking care of his four-year-old son Chevaston, Lee now also cares his wife Vivienne Ngiu after an accident on New Year’s Eve left her in a state of complete paraplegia.

Two months on, Lee and his family are still trying to get used to life after the accident, and she shared with Malay Mail that it has been physically and emotionally tough couple of months.

“Everything is topsy-turvy, even until now. Everything and every day is a new challenge,” said Lee.

“The physical, emotional and psychological effects have been very tough on all my family members.”

He expressed that while he was humbled by the support everyone has shown him and his family, it has been a very demanding few months for him as he adapt to his newfound responsibilities.

“The daily routine and list of things to do have gotten pretty extensive,” said Lee.

“Imagine having to work, care for and manage the needs of a four-year-old in preschool and then be a caretaker for my wife ― managing her treatments like daily medication, physiotherapy and acupuncture sessions every other day.

“Then comes the part that is usually overlooked. Daily routines which are usually done by nurses such as getting dressed, getting to things, showering or when nature calls, are physically demanding.”

The remains of Lee’s family vehicle after the accident. ― Picture via Facebook/Ivan Chong
The remains of Lee’s family vehicle after the accident. ― Picture via Facebook/Ivan Chong

He added that it is emotionally very difficult for him to cope at times.

His heart breaks every time young Chevaston wishes to go for his usual evening walks with his mother at their neighbourhood park.

“‘Mama when are you going to walk again?’ and ‘Are you coming to teach my class ballet today?’, are some of the many lines that truly breaks my heart,” said Lee.

He thanked his family, friends and kind strangers for their gracious support.

“I’m truly blessed because my parents have taken over childcare and babysitting duties. My aunts, cousins and godsisters have also been very generous with their offers to help,” said Lee.

“All of Vi’s students and their parents have been exceptionally supportive. Friends from various companies have also given us various discounts or even sponsored things that may help with Vi’s condition.”

Lee and Ngiu have been together for 24 years and run a humble ballet and dance academy in SS18, Subang Jaya, called Dancer’s Dreams Dance Academy.

Ngiu may have lost complete motor and sensory function from the chest down but Lee said that his wife is a “fighter” by nature and works hard in every physiotherapy session in a bid to hopefully walk again one day.

“She fights very hard, physically and mentally, giving her best at every physio session with the ‘never give up’ attitude,” said Lee.

“She hit burnout about four weeks ago and had brief moments of frustration where she broke down.

“But, thanks to her athletic background, being a ballet teacher, she was able to get over those moments and keep pushing on.”

Earlier this year, Lee and his family met with a bad accident after he swerved their vehicle to avoid hitting a dog, crashing into the divider.

At the time right after the accident, Lee and his family were struggling to grapple with the severity of his wife’s injuries, as the consequent medical costs depleted most of their life savings and was expected to continue to rise up to a quarter of a million ringgit.

This prompted their high school friend Ivan Chong to post on Facebook about Ngiu’s dire state and the family’s urgent need to collect RM350,000 for her treatment.

In a matter of just 48 hours after Chong’s plea, kind Malaysians stepped up and not only helped them to meet the RM350,000 mark, but ended up totalling RM625,000.

“We did not expect public donations to rise above our target, much less exceed RM620,000,” Lee told SJ Echo.

“We would like to thank everyone for their generosity and support to help Vivienne.”

Lee added that his family wouldn’t be using all the donated funds either, as they plan to only use the RM350,000 that they need and will donate the remainder to the Lion’s Club of Subang Jaya.

“We have set aside RM350,000 from the funds raised to see to Vivienne’s medical needs. The balance of RM275,000 will be deposited into the Lion’s Club of Subang Jaya medical aid fund to dispense to other needy medical cases.”

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