Red Cross volunteer helps seniors fight loneliness
Another tries to recruit blood donors for Red Cross
Mr Vincent Wong, 70, lost his wife to bone marrow failure in 1999, and with his two children studying overseas, he lived alone and was depressed for four months.
But one night, he snapped out of it and was determined to tackle life more optimistically.
He is now a Singapore Red Cross (SRC) volunteer spending time with lonely senior people battling with depression.
Last Wednesday was World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day and Mr Wong has been a senior volunteer under SRC's Community Befriending Programme since September last year.
He visits senior beneficiaries every fortnight so that they will not feel lonely.
Recalling the time he fought depression when his wife of 21 years died, he said: "One night, I found purpose again. I needed to be there for my children, as a father, mother and friend."
Now, Mr Wong befriends others like him.
The retired marketing manager recalled helping a 65-year-old diabetic who lives alone and had had one leg amputated.
The man had to stop working and spent many days alone at home, making him depressed.
He stopped taking his medication and never left home.
Mr Wong said: "I told him you can only go up from here.
"If you eat well and focus on getting better, you can make something of your life."
The man is currently undergoing physiotherapy with a prosthetic leg and hopes to find work soon.
SRC has more than 300 volunteers over the age of 65.
Mr Wong Sun Kwong, 70, volunteers as a telerecruiter every Friday for SRC's blood donation recruitment programme.
He initially started volunteering at SRC's thrift shop at Red Cross House in 2016 before having heart issues.
After a coronary angioplasty in 2017, he could not carry heavy objects.
He now contributes by calling potential blood donors for SRC's blood bank.
Mr Wong said: "If you're retired and able-bodied, why not give back to society?"
He also volunteers at the Singapore Heart Foundation and the National Kidney Foundation.
They reach thousands of people every year, with humanitarian services such as blood donations, non-emergency ambulances, first-aid training, homes for the disabled and more.
In a statement to TNP last Tuesday, SRC said: "We are especially encouraged by the support and enthusiasm of our senior volunteers like Vincent and Sun Kwong, who have continued to live a full and meaningful life after retirement, serving the community in the best way each of them can."
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