Help for hole-in-the-heart boy

KUALA LUMPUR - Leow Yen Lee's only wish for the coming Chinese New Year is for her youngest child to be healthy.

Her 20-month-old son Lau Hong Shen was born with a hole in the heart, in addition to pulmonary atresia, a complicated congenital defect that occurs due to abnormal development of the heart during the first eight weeks of pregnancy. It is a condition in which the pulmonary valve does not form properly.

"Like any mother, I hope for my son to be healthy and be able to play with his two older siblings," she said after receiving RM20,000 (S$8,100) from MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek at the 1MCA Medical Foundation's cheque presentation yesterday.

She said Hong Shen went for his first surgery in August to fix the pulmonary valve, after which his condition improved.

However, he still needed another RM55,000 to rectify the hole in the heart.

"I am thankful. The RM20,000 from MCA would help lessen our financial problems," she said.

Leow was among 19 people presented with cheques totalling RM113,700 at the function.

Dr Chua said that since its launch in 2010, the foundation had collected nearly RM20 million from donors and disbursed RM9.3 million to 1,706 people of different races, in line with the 1Malaysia concept.

"When MCA collects funds from the public, the bulk of it is for education or welfare, unlike DAP which uses it for political purposes," he said.

At the event, 28 people were also awarded interest-free study loans worth RM561,000 by MCA's Chang Ming Thien Foundation.

Among the recipients were B. Mahaletchemy, 22, a second-year medical student in Andalas University, Indonesia, who received RM20,000.

"My daughter was very happy when I told her the good news," said A. Nalini, who collected the cheque on her behalf.

She said the loan would go towards settling her daughter's fees and help with her living expenses. "Her annual fees come up to RM15,000," Nalini said.

Deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that since 2004, the education foundation had given away RM27.26 million to 1,774 students.