Sponsor an artificial kidney for $30

PHOTO: Sponsor an artificial kidney for $30

SINGAPORE - Ang Mo Kio-Hougang grassroots leaders helped the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) in the launch of its new fund-raising campaign.

Some 300 grassroots leaders from the constituency pledged on Saturday to each donate the cost of an artificial kidney, part of NKF’s fund-raising campaign with a twist.

The charity stopped major fund-raising activities in 2005 after a scandal involving its then-CEO, T T Durai.

Now, instead of asking for donations to a general fund, the charity wants people to sponsor the cost of an artificial kidney for patients.

Called Be An A K Giver, the year-long public awareness campaign was launched yesterday.

For $30, people can sponsor the cost of an artificial kidney, which can be used for about a month.

That is where the MPs come in with their pledges, reported The Straits Times.

And Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said he will match the donations dollar for dollar.

Said Mr Yeo: “I think it’s important for me as an adviser to mobilise my grassroots leaders by leading by example... to encourage all our grassroots to do our part so that every resident will also do his part.”

An artificial kidney, shaped like a tube, plays an important role in removing waste products and cleansing the patient’s blood during dialysis.

Most kidney patients require a new artificial kidney each month. In more severe cases, patients may need a new artificial kidney every day, reported Channel NewsAsia.

The NKF has 2,400 patients in its 24 dialysis centres and takes in about 300 new patients yearly.

The foundation has seen a 35 per cent increase in the number of patients over the last five years and it expects to handle more.

Mrs Eunice Tay, the charity’s chief executive officer said she understands that the public would want to know where and who the donations will go to and explained that the foundation would be able to provide such details, the news channel added.

But with a bleak global economic outlook, it will be tough getting donations. In fact, Mrs Tay said it is “going to be a real challenge to keep on having enough funds”.

She added: “So we’ll have to keep thinking of how we can help the patients, using the help from the community.”

The New Paper reported last August that among other expenses, the NKF forks out about $600,000 a year for ambulance services to ferry patients to the dialysis centres.

It also spends about $50,000 a month on bread and biscuits for the patients at all 24 dialysis centres during their dialysis sessions.

It was only last April that the foundation held its first fund-raising event since the 2005 scandal. The low-key charity dinner at Orchid Country Club raised $1 million.

In July 2005, the NKF under T. T. Durai mounted a lawsuit against Singapore Press Holdings for a story in The Straits Times that had highlighted a gold-plated tap in his office bathroom.

The trial later uncovered details such as his $600,000 yearly pay and first-class travel, and public confidence in the charity plummeted.