Monday, 18 May 2015

Diabetic gives back to support centre

Man whose outlook changed after joining support group helps out others now
By Adrian Lim, The Sunday Times, 17 May 2015

For a child who loved ice cream and desserts, being diagnosed with diabetes at the age of nine was not easy for Melgious Ang.

Besides having to adjust his diet and deal with insulin injections, Mr Ang, now 29, recalls going through a stage of denial.

But his outlook started to improve after joining Touch Diabetes Support (TDS), an organisation which helps diabetics cope with their condition through support groups, counselling sessions, talks and outings.

"You see (other) people who have the condition... and you look up to them as role models," said Mr Ang, a chemist. "They also share the love and care, and that slowly helped me to accept it."

Today, he is helping others as a volunteer at TDS, which launched a refurbished Touch Healthcare Support centre yesterday.

The 4,000 sq ft centre at Block 149 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 will also be home to the Touch Cancer Support (TCAS) - which, besides running support groups, also helps patients apply for subsidies for cancer drugs and conducts home visits.

Both programmes are run by the charity organisation Touch Community Services.

The revamp, the first since TDS moved into the place in 2003, cost over $300,000, and was funded by the Care & Share Movement, a fund-raising initiative which is matched dollar-for-dollar by the Government.

Having both support groups under one roof made sense, according to Mr Eugene Seow, executive director of Touch Community Services.

"They are both distinct programmes but much of the work we do is common, in providing psychosocial support, helping families, looking after the caregiver, being concerned about their lifestyle."

He added that the TDS has built up expertise in helping diabetics and their families, and this knowledge can be used to help cancer patients too.

With a revamped centre, Mr Seow also hopes to grow the number of participants in TDS and TCAS by around 10 per cent.

Launching the centre yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo, who is also an MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, said support centres are increasingly important as Singapore's population gets older, adding that they help seniors to lead fulfilling lives, manage their health conditions and stay active.

Accountancy undergraduate Ng Jia Jie, 21, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2013, said staying positive has helped him to cope. "What doctors tell you is theory, but how you think is important and I hope to share this with others at the centre."

TOUCH Community Services Healthcare Support Centre (THS) is now open at Block 149, Toa Payoh Lorong 1. The TOUCH...
Posted by Josephine Teo on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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