Cancer left Madam Lam Yuk Sheung, 77, blind in her left eye.
She also suffers from diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia, and is unable to walk unaided. Her main caregiver is her husband, Mr Liow Swee Poh, 79, a former private tutor who retired more than 10 years ago. The elderly Mr Liow is a recovering heart attack patient himself.
The transport fees for Mdm Lam’s medical appointments which used to be up to five times a week fall upon their 52-year old son. That sometimes costs him as much as $500 a month, or a quarter of his $2,000 monthly take-home-pay.
The fees were a tremendous financial strain on the security supervisor who also has to send $1,000 to his wife and eight-year-old daughter in China every month.
The Gift of Mobility Programme took care of that heavy burden when Mdm Lam became a beneficiary in 2010.
Mdm Lam’s medical appointments are now just once in every three weeks, and she is thankful for the relief that the SMRT Gift of Mobility programme has provided her.
“In the past, it was very frustrating for me to go for my medical appointment,” she said. “Taxi rides are expensive and sometimes we had to make bookings, which cost more. Sometimes, by the first two weeks, we would use up money that was supposed to last the whole month.”
Her husband added: “Now it is very convenient. I just call to make a booking the day before the appointment, and the taxi will be waiting for us downstairs in the morning. I use the money we save from the taxi fares to buy herbs and supplements for my wife to make her stronger.”
More than 5,800 patients benefit from the Gift of Mobility Financial Assistance Scheme.
The programme marks its fifth year this year, with SMRT donating $200,000 to help the needy and less mobile.
The scheme covers the taxi-transfer costs for medical appointments or consultations at public hospitals for its beneficiaries, or for them to seek interim employment.
SMRT Gift of Mobility aims to better the lives of the needy, physically disabled and less mobile by providing them with greater mobility.
Since its inception in 2008, SMRT has given more than $1 million to the cause.
SMRT President and CEO Mr Desmond Kuek said: “The Gift of Mobility scheme is consistent with our corporate vision of ‘moving people, enhancing lives’. It underlines our continual efforts to reach out to those who are in need in our community, and help them move about more easily in their daily lives.”
This article was first published in Asiaone