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Project Home Cheer
26 December 2017

HCA, in partnership with Mediacorp, bring out the true meaning of giving.

Now that we are at the tail-end of the festive season, you might have been a recipient of numerous gifts. The sheer magnitude of gift-exchange often begs the question: why do we give?

On 11 November 2017, 120 volunteers from all walks of life appreciated a deeper meaning of giving through Project Home Cheer, organised by HCA Hospice Care (HCA) for the seventh year running. This project allows our volunteers to bring good cheer – literally – to our beneficiaries, bringing the gift of shared friendship during the home visits. The volunteers also brought along goodie bags from generous sponsors.

This year, we were privileged to have 22 volunteers from Mediacorp join us as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, Mediacorp Cares. We decided to tag along with four ladies, Kanni, Peggy, Lucy, and Mdm Sim to document their Project Home Cheer experience.

(L-R) PEGGY, KANNI, MDM SIM AND LUCY FROM MEDIACORP RARING TO GO!

The moment these four bubbly ladies hopped in, the car was filled with excited chatter. “It’s my first time participating in Project Home Cheer” said Kanni in anticipation, with a hint of nervousness in her voice. “Mine too!” Peggy chimed in; “Me three!” Lucy said.

Even though Mdm Sim was the only one among them who had prior experience with HCA, she was also uncertain of what to expect for the day.

To their relief, the first two homes were extremely welcoming. The ladies looked visibly more relaxed as they made their way to the third and final home for the day.

It would also be the home that would leave a deep imprint on their hearts.

The song that made her smile

Even at the gate, one could tell that Mdm Tham’s home was brimming with life, with children laughing and running about in the living room. Maryann, Mdm Tham’s daughter, shushed the children and ushered the group into the room where Mdm Tham was.

I’m so happy to finally see her smiling

“My mother was looking forward to Fei Yu Qing’s concert earlier this month, but unfortunately, she missed it as her condition dipped just the day before and had to be hospitalised. She was terribly disappointed,” Maryann shared.

Without hesitation, the volunteers jumped into action to put together a repertoire of Mdm Tham’s favourite songs comprising classic hits by Teresa Teng, Fei Yu Qin and some Singapore tunes – Chan Mali Chan and Burung Kakak Tua.

But the one song which stole her heart would have to be “Tian Mi Mi” (甜密密) by the late Teresa Teng.

“Tian mi mi, ni xiao de tian mi mi…” (甜密密, 你笑得甜密密。。)

The volunteers sang with gusto and pointed to Mdm Tham’s cheeks in unison. Amused by the volunteers, she broke into a wide smile and a chuckle escaped her lips.

Maryann’s face could not contain her tears.

MOVED BEYOND WORDS, MARYANN EMBRACED HER MOTHER, MDM THAM.

She shared, “Ever since my mum fell ill, she hardly smiles anymore. I’m so happy to finally see her smiling and even humming along with songs that she’s so familiar with.”

Tears started to roll down the cheeks of the volunteers who were present as they harmonised beautifully in between sniffs and sobs.

Gifts that money cannot buy

When asked about how she felt visiting terminally ill patients for the first time, Kanni shared, “Of course I felt sad, but you do not want to show them that you are sad. You just want to show them the happy moments to cheer them up, even if it is for that short while.”

THE INFECTIOUS POSITIVE ENERGY OF MEDIACORP VOLUNTEERS LIT UP THE WHOLE ROOM.

Five days later, Mdm Tham passed away peacefully. Without a doubt, her laughter and smile that very day would be etched deep in Maryann’s heart for years to come.

It certainly takes a village to add life to days for HCA’s beneficiaries.

Why do we do it? The significance of the Project

Project Home Cheer 2017 consisted of many more moments like these. We had young volunteers from schools serving the simple needs of our older beneficiaries and young adults cheering on Star PALS’ patients.

It certainly takes a village to add life to days for HCA’s beneficiaries. Project Home Cheer would not have been possible over the years without ardent support from individual, corporate and student volunteers. This year, NTUC Fairprice, NUS CSC Havenue, NTU Student Affairs Office, Victoria Junior College and Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) all lent a hand in putting together this simple yet heartwarming event.

What will you give others in 2018? What about something unconventionally meaningful – the gift of hope, gift of joy or perhaps the gift of precious memories. These are things that cannot be bought but bring immense meaning and impact.

You can visit hca.org.sg today to explore various ways you and your friends can light up the lives of our beneficiaries. Carpe diem: seize the day, help someone feel valued and cared for today.