“I hope I can take this medicine longer, and it will come with fewer side effects so I can live as normal as possible.”
A young man with lung cancer recently received confirmation from his doctor that his condition has deteriorated. New tumours in his brain have caused him to experience severe headaches. His body also started to resist the targeted therapy drug he was taking. His doctor suggested he start another targeted therapy drug with other medications to reduce the side effects. However, he cannot afford the substantial amount of medication expenses.
【He is grateful that he is still surviving after taking medication for three years following the diagnosis of final-stage lung cancer. Recently, he experienced severe headaches, and a check revealed tumour growth and resistance to drugs in his body】
It has been three years since Gary Tong Hoe Chee was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020. He often felt unwell. Coughing and headaches appeared from time to time, tormenting his body and mind. However, he did not complain or give up. Instead, he faced his life positively.
“I am lucky enough. I am grateful to be able to survive after getting cancer for so many years. After all, the survival rate of lung cancer is not high. Maybe I might leave next year or the year after. As the cancer cells have spread to my brain, I might wake up losing my sight one day, lose my brain function, or even be unable to care for myself. I have no idea how my life will be in the future.”
Gary has exercised since he was young and maintained good living habits. He has also participated in many charity performances to raise funds for children with leukaemia, stray animals, aborigines, and relief funds for flood victims on the East Coast, among others. When Gary was 32, the doctor diagnosed him with cancer; now, the cancer cells have spread from his lungs to the brain. The doctor pronounced that he was in final-stage cancer. Although he has some relatives who have had cancer, they are all in their fifties or older. None of them was diagnosed with lung cancer at a young age like him, so the cause was hard to figure out.
“Honestly speaking, sometimes I will still have emotional fluctuations, but it won’t be long. It’s just temporary (feeling emotional). After that, I would tell myself: forget about it and let’s face the reality.”
Since chemotherapy has little effect on the disease, he has been taking targeted therapy medication. As a musician and singer, he can’t travel long distances for work and performances, but he can still maintain his daily living. Sometimes, he needs to endure the physical discomfort. In April this year, his check-up result showed that his condition was good. However, he had frequent headaches, and the pain differed from usual. He did another test and found three new tumours in his brain.
【The new targeted therapy drug costs more than RM50,000 a year. However, Gary’s work and income are unstable, so he hopes to receive generous donations from the well-wishers】
As his body was weak, he rested for more than a month. Fortunately, his condition gradually improved after taking the new targeted therapy medication. The headache, bloated stomach and diarrhoea were alleviated. He used RM17,620 from his savings to purchase the drug supply for four months. He also needs to spend about RM200 extra monthly to buy other medications that need to be taken together with the targeted therapy drug, such as medication to lower the blood lipid and medicine for the heart.
His current monthly income ranges from RM2,000 to RM5,000. He needs to pay RM700 for the rental, an RM700 loan for the car registered under his name but used by his ex-wife, his insurance premium, transportation, utility bills, and other expenses amounting to about RM3,600 a month.
As his performance reduced, he also tried to earn extra income by renting out PA systems. However, he is worried as his income is unstable, and he cannot afford the upcoming expenditure for the targeted therapy medication. He did not want to borrow money from his elderly parents and married brother, so he approached One Hope Charity for help.
After reviewing the case following a home visit, One Hope Charity decided to assist Gary in raising RM35,040 to reduce his medical financial burden and ensure he had enough medication supply before finishing up the first batch of drugs without worrying about the medication fee for one year. He also decided to pay for the other medicines as the cost was lower.
Gary and his family agreed to fully authorise One Hope Charity to take charge of the fundraising and collect donations from the well-wishers on their behalf. Call One Hope Charity’s hotline at 04-539 9212, 016-419 2192, 019-232 2192 or 018-911 4192 if you have questions.