Published by the Daily Express (http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=126817)
Kota Kinabalu: Society For The Heart Fund (SOSHF) “Sabah Heart Kids” Support Group Centre at the SOSHF Centre in Likas Plaza, here, was launched Saturday in conjunction with the Welfare Month Celebrations 2018.
State Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wong said he was informed that the SOSHF needs the Support Group Centre, a place where individuals can come together and give moral support to one another, share their experiences and their lives that they are not alone in their journey.
He said it is also for people who have gone through similar situations where they can lift one another up.
“If 37 years ago there was a baby under your sponsorship, he would be 37 years old today and if that child was four years old, he or she is 41 years old today.
“It would be great for the SOSHF to see them returning and giving back to the Society which once has assisted them,” said Wong, who also noted that the Society is working to collect the data of all the 663 patients whom they have assisted.
“It would be good if they too could respond and come forward to register themselves with the SOSHF, as working from both ways or two ends are faster and will cut the time by half,” he said.
Organising chairperson Datuk Eva Susau, in her welcoming speech, said it took two years for the Support Group Centre to become a reality.
She found out the need for a support group here after visiting the Heart Kids Centre in Australia some years ago, so that more patients could learn and encourage each other.
“We want to get all the 600 plus of our patients to respond through direct contact or through the hospital when they come for review.
“Many of the SOSHF-sponsored children are already grown up and many have their own families.
We hope all our patients and their families can register with us.
“For the families having children with such disease, the ordeal they went through when first given the news could be devastating and feeling helpless. It would be encouraging to provide moral support to them from other families who have gone through similar experiences,” said Eva.
She said the Support Group was also concerned about the day-to-day realities of raising and caring for children with cardiac conditions and, sometimes, dealing with the loss of a child due to their congenital heart defect.
“Therefore, we can see how important is this support group for our community today so that they will not feel alone in their journey of a new lease of life.
“The Support Group Centre will also benefit our community by creating awareness of Congenital Heart Disease, a place to meet and share stories of Heart Kids, providing support and hope to the families of Heart Kids, and forming an educational and informational support network.
Eva added that the Support Group Centre is open once a week to the members on Friday from 9.30am until 3pm initially and will be adjusted from time to time to suit what is best for the users.
“This centre or unit will expand to other districts in due time. This is why it is important for us to get all our sponsored patients into our data system so we can proceed from there and form more units by the district,” she said, adding that membership is free.
Also present were SOSHF President Datuk Christine Vanhouten and Vice President Datuk William J. Chai. – Jo Ann Mool
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