At the age of five, Dranix was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Initially, he responded well to chemotherapy. He'd been scheduled for a stem cell transplant at the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) — a big step towards cure.
But before he was able to undergo the transplant, he relapsed and had to be put back on chemotherapy.
And soon, he relapsed a second time.
Doctors told his mother, 44-year-old Jaclyn Chow, that her child would need CAR-T therapy — a novel treatment that could only be done at the National University Hospital (NUH) in Singapore.
The treatment costs a minimum of S$230,000.
Turned to crowdfunding
A single mother and the family's sole breadwinner, Chow turned to crowdfunding to pay for the treatment her son desperately needed: the recommended CAR-T therapy and subsequent bone marrow transplant.
The transplant is expected to cost another S$300,000.
Chow, a yoga teacher, shared that her income had been badly affected by the pandemic.
Being Dranix's sole caregiver also means she is unable to return her normal work routine, the Malaysian shared in Dranix's Give.Asia page.
The family does not have any insurance.
"It is very stressful for me financially, emotionally and physically as the medical cost is far beyond my capability," she wrote.
Photos stolen and used in scam site
After setting up the fundraising campaign, things seemed to be going well.
The family has managed to raise over S$365,000, as of Oct. 18.
But one day, Chow received a phone call from a Give.Asia staff member, who asked if she'd engaged another platform to help raise funds.
"I said 'no, why?' And he showed me this," Chow told Mothership.
The post and the scam site have since been taken down, according to Chow.
However, Chow's crowdfunding campaign is still short of its goal. Chow says she is not sure how much money from well-meaning donors ended up going to the scammers instead.
"And Dranix's campaign is not the only one affected," she added.
"I felt very sad that there are people who take advantage of the public's kindness."
Preparing for next round of chemo
Dranix is now preparing for his next round of chemotherapy at NUH before moving on to the CAR-T therapy in November.
The seven-year-old "tries to be jovial and positive" at times.
"But most of the time, the pain is just too much too endure," Chow wrote in the Give.Asia page.
"Whenever he's in pain, he'd be screaming for morphine. I can only comfort him with my hug and gentle strokes against his fragile body."
The therapy involves drawing immune cells — known as T cells — from the patient's blood, and reprogramming them to become cancer cell killers.
While the family has raised enough funds for the treatment itself, they are still unable to afford post-CAR-T treatment and the bone marrow transplant.
If you wish to donate, you may do so at this link.
Top image from Jaclyn Chow/Give.Asia.