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Netizens raise $200,000 for S'porean's last journey home

HEARTBREAKING: Mr Tan (top) with his wife, Mrs Tan, and their year-old son, Kendre. The family faced challenges including Mr Tan's diagnosis of cancer and Kendre's heart problems and disability.


    Sep 18, 2015

    Netizens raise $200,000 for S'porean's last journey home

    IN LESS than two days, family, friends and strangers raised $200,000 to pay for a Singaporean's last journey home and to support his widow and disabled baby.

    Kenny Tan, 30, died from cancer in Rotterdam, Holland on Monday and his wife, Tan Lai Peng, who was with him, did not have the money to repatriate his body.

    When a friend posted on Facebook on Tuesday morning calling for donations, people were so moved that the money poured in to support the family, with $98,000 raised in the first 14 hours alone.

    The Tans have faced heartbreaking challenges in the past two years. Mr Tan was diagnosed with cancer, then fathered a premature baby with heart problems and Down syndrome.

    Last month, in a last-gasp attempt to save his life, Mr and Mrs Tan flew to Rotterdam to seek alternative treatment, leaving their year-old son Kendre in the care of Mr Tan's mother.

    But Mr Tan died there on Monday. After learning of Mrs Tan's plight, two of Mr Tan's secondary school friends, Ian Lim Wei Ming and Zach Lim Wei Long, both 30, uploaded a Facebook post calling for donations to bring Mr Tan's body back.

    The post revealed that Mr Tan had been diagnosed with stage four kidney and lung cancer two years ago.

    Mr Tan, a new insurance agent who had just married a few months earlier, refused to seek treatment at first.

    In the midst of the gloom, there was a bright spot - his wife was pregnant. During Chinese New Year last year, Kendre was born prematurely.

    The baby's heart was not functioning properly and he will need multiple operations.

    The Facebook post said that Mr Tan received a $100,000 insurance payout for critical illness, but he did not want to be treated because he wanted to leave the money for his son's operation.

    But Mr Zach Lim and his other friends convinced Mr Tan to go through chemotherapy at Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

    He also had his affected kidney removed, which kept the cancer at bay. But the treatment wiped out the insurance money.

    Fortunately, Kendre was saved by surgery, which was performed and paid for by KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

    Then late last year, Mr Tan had a relapse and the cancer spread to his brain. Although he sought treatment again, it was not successful.

    Determined to fight for his life, Mr Tan researched treatment abroad and made the journey to Rotterdam early last month.

    In the post, Mr Zach Lim said: "Kenny has been laid to rest in a coffin and will be on his journey back once Holland authorities clear the paperwork."

    In an update on Wednesday night, he announced that $200,000 had been raised and he would stop receiving donations on Sunday at 11.59pm.

    Readers can check the Facebook group "Help Kenny Tan on his last Journey back" for updates.