The National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) raised $1.2 million through its fourth NHCS Heart To Heart Gala held on 17 March 2023 at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore. The gala was organised in conjunction with NHCS’ 25th anniversary.
The funds raised will go towards the Heart to Heart Fund which provides financial assistance to needy heart patients, supports patients who require novel treatment and are unable to undergo conventional therapy, advances cardiovascular research, and advances the training of cardiac healthcare professionals.
Heart failure is one of the top killers globally. In Singapore, statistics showed that in 2021, more than 25 per cent of death were due to heart conditions, with ischaemic heart disease as the second leading cause of death. While heart disease poses a higher risk to the elderly, those of a younger age can be similarly afflicted with cardiac conditions such as hypertension, heart attack, heart failure and congenital heart disease.
Jovan Ho, 15, is a teenager who has advanced heart failure. He is the youngest person in Singapore to be implanted with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The LVAD is a mechanical heart pump that takes over the functions of the heart and is a bridge-to-transplant option for patients like Jovan.
A passionate Chelsea football club fan, Jovan has played football since he was five. However, he had to hang up his boots last year due to his heart condition.
Jovan’s condition came to light when he was only 10 years old. It followed his sister’s cardiomyopathy diagnosis – a condition of weakened heart muscle affecting the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body and is one of the causes of heart failure. A scan revealed that Jovan also had weakened heart function and he was started on medications with regular reviews. Jovan’s condition is genetic, and both his father and sister have passed away from the same condition.
In April 2022, Jovan’s condition took a sudden turn for the worse as he became very breathless, pale and often broke into cold sweat. He was referred to NHCS where he was diagnosed with advanced heart failure and implanted with a LVAD.
As Jovan awaits a heart transplant, the numerous medical appointments and medical expenses will be a challenge, especially since his mother is the sole breadwinner. Besides financial aid from the government, the NHCS Heart To Heart Fund
has been crucial in alleviating some of the family’s financial load.
“As the nation’s population health needs become increasingly complex, with major risk factors for heart disease on the rise, greater emphasis is needed to
advance local medical care for cardiovascular conditions and support our financially needy patients,” said Professor Terrance Chua, Chief Executive Officer, NHCS. “We are grateful for the generous philanthropic support and donations received from our partners and supporters who believe in our quest to prevent heart disease and develop new disease treatments.”
The Heart To Heart Fund has enabled Jovan to focus on his studies, and worry less about the financial burden on his mother. Since his discharge, Jovan has returned to school full-time and hopes to fulfill his dream of becoming a soccer player.
Every philanthropic effort counts. With your continued support and partnership, we can make a positive impact in the lives of those we serve, and define tomorrow’s medicine for better heart health. Find out how you can make a difference to our beneficiaries’ lives by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.