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S’pore, China & US working together on children’s cancer research

Setting aside whatever differences for the sake of the children.

Kayla Wong | March 7, 11:46 pm

The two major powers in the world need not butt heads all the time.

Collaboration between Singapore, China and U.S.

While China and the United States are engaged in a trade dispute that shows no signs of abating anytime soon — with smartphone maker Huawei caught in the cross hairs — the two countries are making headway in an entirely different area: Healthcare.

A Singapore-based charity, VIVA Foundation for Children with Cancer, is the one that spearheaded the collaboration.

Its founder, Jennifer Yeo, recently announced the partnership on March 2, reported The Straits Times.

Yeo said:

“We want to be the bridge between the hospitals, to spread knowledge, expertise and technology from the U.S. to Singapore, China and the region.”

The six parties that signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) to boost advancements in children’s cancer research are:

Singapore

  • VIVA Foundation for Children with Cancer
  • KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital
  • National University Hospital (NUH)

China

  • VIVA China Children’s Cancer Foundation (Hong Kong)
  • Shanghai Children’s medical Center/National Children’s Medical Center

U.S.

  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Sharing knowledge with Singapore & China

Under the MOU, experts from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will share its knowledge and expertise about treating the most common form of childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), with medical professionals in Singapore and China.

St. Jude is a leading research facility that focuses on children’s cancer.

It has the world’s best survival rate for ALL at 94 per cent.

As for Singapore and China facilities, the rate of survival for ALL is 88 per cent and 80 per cent respectively.

Yeo set up VIVA in 2006

Yeo, who is the wife of former Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo, established VIVA in 2006 to connect St. Jude with NUH and the National University of Singapore to improve the cure rates of children’s cancer in Singapore.

The couple’s fourth and youngest child, Frederick, was diagnosed with ALL when he was three.

She said of the diagnosis back in 2011, according to The Sunday Times:

“From a feisty three-year-old pattering away, he started screaming in pain whenever he had to walk.

He had to be carried, put back in a baby walker and finally he couldn’t walk.”

Frederick was later cured in 2005 at the age of 11 after receiving a bone marrow transplant at St. Jude.

The experience led Yeo to approach friends and business associates to set up VIVA.

She eventually raised more than S$6 million for the cause.

On the foundation, Yeo said:

“You don’t have to be a doctor to save lives.”

Top image via VIVA Foundation for Children with Cancer

About Kayla Wong

Kayla's dog runs her life.

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