Teenager goes all out to raise funds for Hospis Malaysia

helo.my: St John’s International School student Visaghan Shanta Mohan, 17, is not your ordinary teenager.

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Unlike many his age who would rather spend every waking moment on social media or hanging out with their friends, Visaghan is helping raise funds for Hospis Malaysia, a palliative care centre in dire need of funding.

However, this isn’t the first time that the teen has rallied Malaysians to help support this important cause. In 2019, he helped collect RM27,000 for Hospis Malaysia to fulfil the last wish of a family friend.

“Uncle Jegadeva was my parents’ neighbour who became a family friend. He was very good with children and would tell us stories.

“He would often speak about Hospis Malaysia,” Visaghan tells FMT, adding that Uncle Jegadeva himself was terminally ill and received palliative care from the centre.

“Before he passed away, Uncle Jegadeva wanted to raise funds for Hospis Malaysia and that is why we feel such a close connection to this place. It made me understand the importance of palliative care.”

However, the Covid-19 pandemic dealt a harsh blow to Hospis Malaysia. With funds quickly depleting, and no fresh donations coming in, the centre’s management reached out to Visaghan and his family for help.

“The people at Hospis Malaysia called my mother about their predicament. They explained that since the pandemic, things have not been smooth sailing and they urgently required additional funding,” says Visaghan.

He said that he initially wanted to help raise the necessary funds in the same way he did last year – through a movie screening event. But with the movement control order enforced because of Covid-19, this was out of the question.

He says his mother then suggested selling gifts for Christmas. And to hold a New Year’s Bazaar.

They got down to work immediately, sourcing gifts from India. They selected gift envelopes, boxes, bags, scarves, sarongs, dressing gowns, Lucknow Chikan kurtas and Indo-western attire.

The fundraiser, ‘The Ripple Effect in memory of the late Uncle Jegadeva’ featured items priced from as low as RM50 to RM200.

These items are especially beautiful due to its hand block prints, which is an ancient printing technique that utilises hand-carved teak wood blocks dipped in dye and stamped by hand onto cotton or silk fabric.

While preparing for his IGCSE examinations in December, Visaghan took time out to appeal to all the generous donors who contributed to his cause before, desperately hoping they would buy the products on sale.

To date, he has reached 50% of his target of RM20,000 and hopes to raise the remaining funds by mid-January.

“Because of the pandemic, I didn’t know what to expect especially since everyone is financially tight. Every ringgit counts and that is why I am extremely grateful to all the donors who have helped so far,” he says, adding that he was touched by the kindness of everyone he approached.

Visaghan, who hopes to study law someday, explains that his passion to help those in need is largely inspired by his mother who often holds fundraisers.

“One of her first causes was for a secondary school founded by Uncle Jegadeva himself. She’s been amazing at helping me out with this initiative, talking me through every step of the way.”

Evelyn Foo, Hospis Malaysia’s communications manager, says she is amazed by Visaghan’s drive. She says the funds he raises will help Hospis Malaysia provide continuous service to the community.

“We are a 100% non-profit organisation that relies almost entirely on donations and corporate grants as well.

“80% of our total costs go to patient care services and that includes our palliative care nurses who go on their rounds to visit patients at home. This service is totally free of charge,” she says, adding that Hospis Malaysia also provides medication and medical equipment to the terminally ill.

“We were truly humbled when we heard what Visaghan and his family were doing for Hospis Malaysia back in 2019. Uncle Jegadeva’s wife was very touched by the cause as well.”

Foo says that with Visaghan helping to raise funds for Hospis Malaysia once again, more people will become aware of what palliative care is all about.

“This is how he is also helping to generate awareness of the importance of palliative care,” Evelyn says.

To contribute to the cause, you can check out the items offered for sale here or reach out to Visaghan at 012-5943987.


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