Former Woodlands Wellington footballer Nur Alam Shah Yusoff died of a heart attack in May. He was 38 years old.
“I am always full of fear,” said Azean Aziz, the 38-year-old widow of the late footballer.
“I don’t know what will happen to me in the future, and how it is going to be. My husband passed away, and that was the hardest blow in my life.”
“Initially it was very difficult for me to pick myself up, but I told myself I had to,” added the mother of three children, aged between four and 14.
“It was a must for my kids. If anything happens to me, what is going to happen to them? Of course I am sad, but I choose not to show it to them.”
Azean and her family received a boost yesterday when local automotive company Komoco Motors donated $100,000 to them, with the company’s finance director Philip Beng handing Azean a cheque at her Senja Road home.
Beng said: “We understand that the father passed away and the mother is left with three children.
“We are concerned about the children’s needs… and how they are going to grow up. We see this (donation) as social responsibility, and that’s why we wanted to do this.”
While Komoco is headed by Football Association of Singapore vice-president Teo Hock Seng, who is known for helping footballers out of his own pocket, Beng stressed yesterday that the donation was “something that the company wanted to do”.
Azean said: “I am not able to work due to Royyan’s condition, so Komoco’s donation will tide us over in terms of our expenses, such as household bills, transport and food.”
She was referring to Muhammad Royyan, the youngest of her three children.
The bubbly boy, who turns five in December, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare heart defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart.
The couple had another daughter who died in 2008 of the same condition. Before Nur Alam Shah died, he was trying to raise $120,000 through the Give.Asia online platform to cover Royyan’s medical expenses.
The family had to downgrade from a four-room flat to a two-room one before his death.
They eventually raised almost $190,000 to cover Royyan’s surgery, and post-surgery medical needs for three years, and some of the family’s daily expenses, according to Azean on the Give.Asia page.
Yesterday, she said that the family are still waiting on the doctor’s assessment on when Royyan should undergo his surgery, which involves his valves, and that the money raised through Give.Asia will also go towards his monthly medical check-ups.
Royyan also had surgery for his condition when he was 25 days old in 2014, and again in July last year.
Azean added that since her husband’s death, people have also donated to her family outside of the Give.Asia platform, and her own parents have been helping her care for her children.
She said: “My counsellor told me that I could reach out if I needed emotional support but so far I am okay because I have been very busy with the kids, and it’s good because I have no time to be sad or to think about things.”
A housewife for the past 10 years, Azean aims to find part-time work next year, if Royyan’s schooling hours permit.
She said: “My eldest son is quite independent, while my daughter is already in after-school care.
“If Royyan has longer school hours next year, maybe I will go out and find work… at least there will be more income for the family.”
Image: The Straits Times
Text: Lim Say Heng / The Straits Times / July 2018
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