KULAIJAYA - Out of love for his struggling mother, a 17-year-old stopped schooling and went to work to support the family.
But fate dealt a cruel blow when a hit-and-run accident left him paralysed.
Phoong Jun Woi, who worked at a mobile phone shop, was hit by a car while on his way back from work one night. He was riding a motorcycle.
The tragedy happened last month near here, causing Phoong to lose mobility.
His mother, Suah Moy Yin, 35, said her eldest son used to be an active young man who did not complain when he was forced to stop schooling for the family's sake.
"Now, he cannot even talk, stand or walk. He also has problems identifying family members and friends.
"He needs support round the clock and I have to take leave from work as a shopkeeper to take care of him," she said in Kampung Baru Sengkang, here.
The accident left several bones in his body fractured.
He is so weak that he can only drink milk through a tube now.
Phoong also needs diapers every day.
The nutritional milk is not cheap, at RM72 (S$26) per tin, and lasts only three or four days.
All these expenses, nearing RM1,000 a month, is nearly breaking Suah, a divorcee.
She was forced to dip into her savings to cover Phoong's needs; support her two other children aged nine and seven months, as well as care for her 60-year-old mother.
Johor Socso director Ismail Abi Hashim, who visited Phoong, said the agency would be supporting the family by giving diapers, nutritional milk, a mattress, a suction pump, a recliner wheelchair and a specially-made bed.
The agency also gave Phoong RM1,050 as income replacement for the days he was on medical leave. He would continue to be paid as long as he has the medical certificates.
"We will be monitoring his condition from time to time. Continuous help will be provided to him.
"We are also planning to send Phoong to our rehabilitation centre in Malacca to help his recovery process," he said.