REACHING OUT: Funds to subsidise needy patients at University Malaya Medical Centre
KUALA LUMPUR: TESCO Malaysia is collaborating with University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) to sponsor treatment for leukaemia patients through its charity programme, "Helping Children with Leukaemia".
The three-year programme is aimed at raising RM1 million to help 100 children with leukaemia from underprivileged background.
Tesco Malaysia chief executive officer SungHwan Do said Tesco was committed to caring for underprivileged children as part of its corporate social responsibility.
"With the help of our customers, staff and suppliers, we hope to raise RM1 million in three years. We will also be organising fundraisers throughout this period. The money will be channelled to UMMC's underprivileged paediatric patients diagnosed with leukaemia.
"It is expensive to treat leukaemia. Hopefully, this programme will bridge the financial barrier and act as a support system for underprivileged patients. We will work together with UMMC to identify deserving patients," he said after launching the programme at UMMC's Paediatric Oncology Ward yesterday.
UMMC consulting paediatric haematologist and oncologist Prof Dr Hany Ariffin said the hospital received about 50 leukaemia patients every year.
"The treatment cost for leukaemia can run up to RM100,000. Therefore, assistance is needed to help subsidise the cost of treatment and equipment for underprivileged children.
"Childhood leukaemia is no longer a death sentence. The leukaemia cure rate for lymphoblastic leukaemia, the most common type, is 85 per cent when a child receives appropriate and timely treatment.
"No child should be excluded from this opportunity to be cured simply because of his socio-economic background."
Tesco customers can contribute by putting their loose change into special coin boxes at 46 Tesco checkout counters nationwide.
Ding Kar Hooi, 29, said she had to quit her job as an accounts clerk to look after her 4-year-old daughter, Chuah Tong Xin.
"I was four months pregnant with my third child when my second daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia in March.
"It is heart-wrenching to see her condition, especially when she is undergoing chemotherapy.
"I hope this programme will help my daughter lead a normal life."
Also present at the launching ceremony were UMMC chairman Dr Rozaidah Talib, UMMC director Prof Datuk Dr Ikram Shah Ismail, UMMC Paediatric Department head Prof Dr Lee Way Seah and Tesco Malaysia government and corporate affairs director Azlam Shah Alias.