A fund raiser has been organised to appeal for donations to shoulder the hefty medical costs incurred for the treatment of a terminally ill NUS student.
Zhang Xiao Ou, a 24-year-old China scholar, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, or cancer of the white blood cells on March 4, after she attended a routine medical check up at the National University Hospital.
Upon receiving news of her condition, Zhang's closest friends and classmates set up a committee to organise fund-raising activities, one of which took place on Kent Ridge campus this past week.
The committee was also started to respond to queries from concerned members of the public, after Zhang's case was publicised through a website and a Facebook group to raise awareness of her condition.
The website can be found at http://blessxiaoou.net.
A group of Zhang’s friends have since been taking turns to accompany her 24 hours a day in the National University Hospital, where she is receiving treatment.
According to an update on the Facebook group, a total of $66,000 has been raised as of March 13.
One of Zhang’s closest friends, a fourth-year engineering student Han Si, said, “The response has been overwhelming.
“Our school is very supportive.”
Li Wanning, a fourth-year electrical engineering student, who is on the same scholarship programme as Zhang, described her current condition as "critical."
“Her situation is one of the most serious and we don’t have much time. We have 6 months to save her,” she said.
According to Li, Zhang had been feeling weak for a few days prior to the check up where she learnt about her condition.
Zhang, a fourth-year student from the Faculty of Science, was due to graduate at the end of this academic year with a first-class honours degree.
She arrived in Singapore in 2003 and she was enrolled into NUS one-and-a half years later.
Majoring in quantitative finance, she performed consistently well in her studies and was been placed on the dean’s list several times.
Chen Cheng, a fourth-year electrical engineering student, said, “Zhang is very bright, warm and hardworking.
“She is a good friend to a lot of us and is one of the most brilliant students.”
Han added, “She is very outgoing, very talented and is determined to be successful.”
Zhang started her first stage of treatment on March 11.
The cost of her medical treatment is estimated to be about $400,000. However, foreign students have a maximum annual medical insurance coverage of $30,000.
Zhang's mother and relative are expected to arrive in Singapore early next week.
Details of donation options are as stated on the Facebook group page. It can be accessed via the link: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=54674177849&ref=mf