KUCHING: The government wants Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society (SCCS), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), to educate people on childhood cancer.
“With your experience and networking among affected children and families, we hope you could assist by educating the public on this affliction,” said Social Development and Urbanisation Minister Tan Sri William Mawan.
He was speaking at a tree planting ceremony and laying of the foundation stone for the new SCCS’ Children Cancer Centre at Taman Desa Wira yesterday.
The 1.36 acre land was allocated to SCCS in recognition of its role in educating the public and supporting affected families.
He said families of children with cancer were giving back to society by providing “emotional and moral support to other families”.
Mawan said a number of families who had children with cancer did not refer them to the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) as they did not know anyone in the city and cannot afford to stay there. Hence the new centre would act as their home while the child underwent treatment.
The ceremony was officiated by Head of State Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Muhammad Salahuddin; his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Norkiah was also present. They planted three trees at the site, including a durian tree.
SCCS president Gary Ho said the event marked the day the society’s dream of having a permanent children cancer centre come true.
“We will always remember Tun Datuk Patinggi’s special interest in the well-being of our children and the development of our society since 2004, when he and Toh Puan launched our centre at Jalan Maxwell,” he said.
Ho added that funds for the RM2.6 million centre came from fundraising efforts like their Charity Food Fair, ‘Go Bald’ Campaign and other direct donations.
According to SCCS building head and past president Raymond Thong, construction of the centre was expected to be completed by next year.
“The building is 40 per cent completed and will have a maximum of 20 bedrooms,” he said.
It will house a reception office, general office, meeting room, caretaker room, living room, dining room, common kitchen, multi-purpose room and other support facilities.
Also present at the ceremony were SCCS’s new advisor Datuk Lorna Enan Muloon, her husband Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan, and Padawan Municipal Council chairman Lo Khere Chiang.