Singapore

Making a difference: Giving joy and dignity in death

We profile six everyday heroes who have made a difference in the lives of strangers. Their heartwarming deeds are celebrated in the ongoing Good Man Good Deeds Good Rice campaign, a collaboration between Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao and Tong Seng Produce, which will donate 500kg of its SongHe rice and 60 litres of canola oil each to charities of their choice.

As Katie laid on her deathbed, it was Mr Anson Ng, 50, who stayed beside her and broached the topic of her last wishes.

Mr Ng, who has been volunteering at HCA Hospice for seven years, said: "If you fall asleep and never wake up, do you want to live in a temple or do you want to be one with the ocean?"

Katie, 40, was diagnosed with late stage cancer last October after a volunteering trip to Australia. The cancer cells had spread to her lungs and stomach when she found out.

Mr Ng, a car dealer, got to know about Katie's situation in May this year and began arranging visits to her home. Her family had little experience taking care of cancer patients and he wanted to make sure that Katie's last journey was in peace.

When he first saw Katie, she was losing hair from her chemotherapy sessions and locked herself in her house for days.

He said: "She was still young, she shouldn't have isolated herself. She couldn't walk so I found her a wheelchair, took her shopping and took her to Sentosa.

Katie's condition soon deteriorated and Mr Ng helped check her into HCA Hospice for palliative care.

Katie chose to have her ashes scattered into the sea. She died 26 days laterand her wishes were honoured.

Madam Ang, Katie's mother, said: "Her cancer was sudden and we were not prepared emotionally and didn't know how to take care of her. "

The 65-year-old added: "I am thankful that he stepped in to help with the arrangements after she died."

His charity is Willing Hearts. Founded in 2005, it operates a soup kitchen that prepares about 5,000 meals daily for the needy, such as the disabled, elderly, low-income families and migrants, and sends it out to over 40 locations.

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