Poly nursing grad raises money for trip to help Nepal quake victims
Student nurse will head for Nepal with medical team tomorrow to help quake victims
When Mr Brandon Chia heard about the Nepal earthquake, he immediately wanted to help with the relief efforts.
After doing some research, the 22 year-old found out that a humanitarian relief group, Crisis Relief Singapore (CRS), would be sending five teams between May 1 and May 20.
"I have always wanted to go to these disaster zones to help with the medical relief efforts. That is why I want to be a nurse - to help people," said Mr Chia.
The devastating April 25 earthquake has killed more than 7,000 people in Nepal.
Mr Chia has been working part-time as a private home nurse since completing his nursing course in ITE College East in 2012.
But he had a problem - he did not have the $1,500 that volunteers need for air tickets and accommodation, as the trip is self-funded.
As he is from a humble background, he could not ask for money from his parents.
"My dad is a dishwasher and he is the main breadwinner in our family of four," added Mr Chia, who completed his diploma in Health Sciences (Nursing) from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) about two months ago.
Not one to give up, he asked for donations from friends and lecturers at ITE and NP last week.
He also approached the National Youth Achievement Award Council (NYAA), where he had worked previously, and they agreed to sponsor his flight.
In less than 24 hours, Mr Chia raised the targeted amount. Over the next two days, the funds raised grew to $3,685.
He said: "It was amazing. I didn't expect everyone to trust me so much and to be so willing to contribute."
One of his supporters, a staff member of NYAA, who wanted to remain anonymous, donated $1,000 to him, he added.
Mr Chia, who will be leaving for Nepal tomorrow, said he plans to use the excess funds for first-aid supplies.
Yesterday, he went to the pharmacy at the Singapore General Hospital to buy supplies, such as bandages and wire gauze, which Nepalese doctors have said they will need.
Any remaining money will be given to CRS to help fund the other teams going to Nepal, he said.
Mr Chia's group, the second of five teams that CRS is sending to Nepal, will be there for a week, till May 13.
A CRS spokesman said the teams comprise doctors, paramedics, medical students, including some from the National University Singapore School of Medicine, and experienced volunteers.
Team members are selected via a phone interview and given priority based on experience, vocation and recommendation.
Mr Chia's 11-member team will be heading for the Sindhupalchowk area, 60km from the capital Kathmandu, to provide medical treatment.
Mr Chia admits that his parents had concerns about his safety and finances when he told them of his plan to go to Nepal. But they were convinced when they saw that he was able to raise the money for the trip.
He said: "They are probably still worried. But I promised them that I will do my best to stay safe and contact them every day."
Mr Chia discovered his interest for nursing when he joined the Red Cross as a co-curricular activity in secondary school. This passion eventually led him to take up nursing courses at ITE and polytechnic.
Recently, he was awarded a Ministry of Health scholarship to study nursing in university.
His experience of saving a motorist's life in a road accident last year is etched in his memory and serves as motivation for his work.
He recalled: "The motorist was knocked down and because the ambulance's arrival was delayed, I administered some basic first-aid to him first. I helped ensure that he was immobilised so that his condition would stabilise and not deteriorate."
While Mr Chia is looking forward to the trip, he also hopes that more volunteers will join in the relief efforts for Nepal.
"I hope my fund-raising story and my passion for helping others can motivate many others to volunteer and make a difference too," he said.
I hope my fund-raising story and my passion for helping others can motivate many others to volunteer and make a difference too.
- Mr Brandon Chia