Guardian angel: Billionaire personally hands $100k cheque to boy with leukaemia, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper
Singapore

Guardian angel: Billionaire personally hands $100k cheque to boy with leukaemia

Indonesian tycoon shows up at family's home after reading about 5-year-old's medical condition

The family of a five-year-old Malaysian boy with leukaemia recently received a generous gift from one of South-east Asia’s richest people.

Indonesia's 16th richest person, banking and property magnate Ang Tjoen Ming, personally delivered a $100,000 cheque to the father of the boy last week, reported Shin Min Daily News.

Mr Ang, 69, is the founder of Mayapada group, and has a net worth of $3.5 billion, according to Forbes Indonesia.

Shin Min had previously written about a fundraiser for the boy, pertaining to the transplant procedure he urgently needed to undergo, on crowdfunding platform Give.asia on March 4.

Mr Ang said he was moved when he saw the article and decided to personally visit the boy, Isaac Ng, and his father, Mr Ng Nai Long, since he was in Singapore at the time.

Dressed in a white long-sleeve shirt and black pants, he appeared at the doorstep of Mr Ng's residence in Singapore last Saturday (March 5).

Greeted at the door by Mr Ng and his son, Mr Ang remarked to the boy: "You're like my grandson."

The older man later handed a cheque for $100,000 to Mr Ng, and told him not to worry and focus on nursing his son back to health. He reassured him: "I'll bear the rest of the expenses. You don't have to worry, let me settle."

Mr Ng was lost for words; he placed his hands together in gratitude and thanked Mr Ang. 

Mr Ang also encouraged Isaac and said: "Grandpa will help you so that you can live a strong life after your recovery… You will definitely be a good person, one that is more capable than me."

Speaking to Shin Min after the visit, Mr Ng said he received a call from Mr Ang who asked how his son was doing, and for his home address.

He said he never expected the Indonesian billionaire to actually appear at his doorstep, and certainly not with a $100,000 cheque in hand.

He said he now has a weight lifted off his chest and can finally focus on his son's treatment and recovery.

Diagnosed

Isacc was three years old when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in 2019. At the time, he was treated at University Malaya Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur, and responded well to chemotherapy initially.

However, he suffered a bone marrow relapse 13 months later.

By mid-2021, doctors said there were no more treatment options in Malaysia for the boy due to the highly aggressive nature of his leukaemia cells, which were very resistant to chemotherapy.

This led his parents to seek alternative medical treatments overseas, and they learnt of a treatment called Chimeric-Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy available in Singapore.

Isaac was referred to the National University Hospital Singapore, and his parents started a fundraiser for his treatment. The expenses then were estimated to be around $180,000.

PHOTO via GIVE.ASIA

A month after Isaac began his CAR-T therapy in December 2021, tests showed he was losing the cells that were supposed to help fight the cancer cells in the long-term, and that he was at a high risk of relapsing.

He needed a bone marrow transplant immediately, but there were no suitable donors.

Fortunately, Mr Ng was found to be a suitable donor himself for an alternative procedure called haploidentical (half-matched) stem cell transplant.

But the astronomical medical costs – approximately $350.000 – proved a big hurdle once again. 

As time was of the essence, the family took to crowdfunding for assistance. As at March 8, around $480,000 of the $550,000 sought had been raised. The procedure is slated for the middle of next month (April 2022).

Philanthropy

Mr Ang is known for other charitable efforts in the past. 

The philanthropist had previously donated US$100 million (S$136 million) towards the global prevention of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013, according to Tatler Asia.

Sharing his philosophy for helping others to Shin Min, he said: "You heal your own diseases when you heal other people's diseases."

"I do not own wealth, but only manage wealth," he added.

leukaemiaPHILANTHROPYindonesiaCROWDFUNDING AND FUND-RAISING