Singaporeans surpass S$70K fundraising goal for baby’s heart battle

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SINGAPORE: A Singaporean couple is confronted with their worst fears when doctors inform them that their newborn baby, Leon, has a congenital heart defect known as pulmonary atresia.

In the first three weeks of his life, Leon has already undergone two surgeries and suffered two strokes.

Facing these challenges, the parents launched a fundraising campaign on to raise S$70,000 (US$52,281) to cover Leon’s medical procedures.

Remarkably, the community in Singapore rallied together to support baby Leon. The campaign exceeded all expectations, gathering an impressive sum of over S$102,901 (approximately US$76,854), thanks to the overwhelming generosity of 1,187 donors.

Family’s month-long struggle with their newborn son’s unexpected challenges

For more than a month, Leon’s parents, Mr Jamie Koit and Madam Bella Luong have grappled with the unimaginable challenges accompanying the birth of their fourth son, Leon.

Born on 8 December, baby Leon’s story took an unexpected turn the day after his birth when paediatricians at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) detected a heart murmur.

The subsequent revelation of a congenital heart defect, pulmonary atresia, marked the beginning of a remarkable battle for the tiny warrior.

Pulmonary atresia, an uncommon condition occurring in about one in 10,000 live births, involves the underdevelopment of the pulmonary artery valve, obstructing vital blood flow to the lungs.

Leon has undergone two surgeries within a mere three weeks of his birth. These surgeries, however, were followed by the added adversity of two strokes, impacting his peripheral vision and the right side of his body.

At the time, baby Leon also required tube feeding and received blood-thinning injections twice a day.

Despite the challenges, the Koit family remains resilient, hoping to soon cradle baby Leon in their arms at home.

Mr Koit, 41, shared the multitude of questions that raced through their minds when doctors first disclosed Leon’s condition, highlighting the emotional toll the situation has taken on the family.

The Cleveland Clinic in the United States notes that pulmonary atresia has a survival rate without surgery of about 50 per cent at the age of one.

Leon underwent a surgical procedure on 14 December to create an opening in his pulmonary artery. However, the six-hour operation proved unsuccessful, leading to another surgery just five days later.

This time, a small tube, or shunt was inserted near his heart to allow blood to flow. Given that Leon is still growing, this intervention is considered temporary, with a more permanent cardiac surgery scheduled when he turns 18 months old.

Mr Koit, who works in the finance industry, revealed the challenging decision the family faces, with a 5 to 15 per cent chance of mortality if Leon undergoes surgery now.

Waiting until he reaches 18 months decreases the risk, but the road to recovery includes rehabilitation and physiotherapy due to the strokes, the long-term effects of which remain uncertain.

“Every day is a heart-wrenching ordeal,” Mr Koit added. “Having to watch your child suffer and not being able to do anything about, it hurts as a parent.”

While Government subsidies and MediSave have helped to offset part of the bills, the Koit family, the Koit family, still facing financial constraints, launched a fundraising campaign on, aiming to raise S$70,000 for Leon’s medical procedures.

Community compassion prevails

Hearteningly, the Koit family received a positive response from Singaporeans. The campaign has exceeded its target, accumulating over S$102,901.

Expressing profound gratitude to all supporters, the family issued a heartfelt message on 19 January, acknowledging the outpouring of love, prayers, and financial contributions.

Reflecting on the challenging six weeks they’ve endured, the family anticipated the next phases of rehabilitation, including neo-natal and cardiac visitations, physiotherapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.

This is to support and assist baby Leon in the development of his heart condition and rehabilitation from the two strokes he experienced.

“It was a very tough 6 weeks for us as parents and most important baby Leon is a little warrior going through the ordeal, ” said Leon’s parents.

“Baby Leon will be on feeding tube (continuous milk feeding) as his stomach is still unable to use the normal bottle feeding. ”

“Baby Leon will also be on clexane injections twice daily (blood thinning) for the next 3 months. This is to avoid any further seizures and possible stroke until his lungs and heart grows and stabilise.”

Baby Leon was discharged from the hospital on Sunday. The parents added that cardiac doctors will assess him periodically on his heart condition and prepare for his open-heart surgery, scheduled for 6 to 18 months from now.

” We are still praying and keeping our hopes that he doesn’t need to go through the surgery which doctor did mentioned that there is a 20-30% chance his valve will gradually open as he grows bigger.”

As the Koit family navigates the uncertain path ahead, they remain hopeful and thankful for the world’s kindness.

They appreciate the platform provided by during these trying times, keeping supporters updated on baby Leon’s progress and expressing hope for his continued recovery and development.

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Salute to the guy who didn't hesitate to help the kid.
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