Over 300 guests attended the first National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) Heart to Heart Gala 2015 on 6 March 2015 at Conrad Centennial Singapore, with Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen as the guest-of-honour. The charity gala raised $764,950 for the NHCS Heart2Heart Fund of which half will go towards patient care such as helping needy patients and programmes that introduce new life-saving treatments to patients. The other half will be channelled to cardiovascular research, driving medical excellence and innovation to provide patients top-quality heart care.

Heart patient Mr Kevin Wong 王辉祥, 25, was one of the beneficiaries of the NHCS Heart2Heart Fund. In 2012, Kevin was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged and cannot pump blood efficiently. He was in a critical state and was put on a short-term life support system to preserve the function of his other organs and stabilise his condition before he was implanted with HeartMate II, a heart assist device that takes over the function of his failing heart and helps to prolong his life and improve its quality. With his health back on track, Kevin resumed his studies and graduated with an engineering diploma last year. He is now ready to enter the workforce. As the batteries for the heart pump last about one to two years, he received two pair of replacement batteries which cost about $5,000 from the NHCS Heart2Heart Fund.

“Heart disease is the largest contributor to the disease burden in Singapore. With heart attack rates on the rise, every donation we receive will help boost research in heart disease to aid in prevention and treatment, and help our needy patients to cope with the rising costs of expensive technology,” said Adjunct Professor Terrance Chua, Medical Director, National Heart Centre Singapore.

The various fundraising avenues included sculptures acknowledgement and auctions. Six beautiful sculptures centred on NHCS’ values of collaboration, collegiality, compassion, respect, integrity and professionalism, were created in partnership with the School of the Arts (SOTA). Four of these sculptures have been acknowledged, bringing in a generous donation of $373,000 collectively. The guest-of-honour, Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen presented a token of appreciation in the form of a miniature sculpture each to two of the heart-a-sculpture donors, Mr Soh Xing Long on behalf of Mrs Wong-Mah Jia Lan who supported the Compassion sculpture and Mr Gordon Tang, Director, Tang Dynasty, who supported the Professionalism sculpture. Daniel Phoon 潘凯杰, 16, was the student behind the Professionalism sculpture. He drew his inspiration from the human eye as it symbolises transparency and he felt that people should help one another and treat each other as equals which resonates with the value of professionalism. On his art piece garnering a $135,000 donation, Daniel said, “I’m very happy that my work is making an impact, something I never guessed would have happened.”

For the auctions, guests can enjoy a multi-course Catalan dinner by Michelin-Starred Chef Nandu Jubany, paired with drinks by award-winning mixologist Dario Nocentinia at the FOC; a commissioned portrait by Namiko Chan Takahashi whose painting, Charisse was honoured as UOB’s Painting of the Year in 2006. Mrs Wong-Mah Jia Lan, a well-known philanthropist, also donated an exquisite miniature engraving of the deity of longevity, on a jade Goddess of Mercy statue, that measures only 10mm in width by renowned Chinese Master Chang Shi Qi.

The gala, themed The First Beat, marks the beginning of NHCS’ fundraising efforts through a charity gala to save lives, improve cardiac care and help needy heart patients. The guests were treated to a multi-sensory experience from customising and creating a unique fragrance to savouring a visual and culinary feast where food and art unite.

Members of the public who wish to know more about the NHCS Heart2Heart Fund may check the NHCS website www.nhcs.com.sg or email to development@nhcs.com.sg or call NHCS at 6704 2384/86, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6pm. All donations to the NHCS Heart2Heart Fund are managed by the SingHealth Foundation (UEN T02CC1576B). Cash donations will receive a tax deduction of 250 per cent of the donation value.