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Did this wheelchair-bound woman get the help she needed from the Town Council?




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Singapore — In Part 1 of the video, 43-year-old Coco appealed to the Nanyang Town Council under West Coast either for a lift in a corner of her block or to make the level where she has her flat electric-wheelchair-accessible.

Life is a hard struggle for Coco, who suffers from end-stage kidney failure with only 9% function left, type 1 diabetes, high blood pressure, and anaemia. She also suffered from heart failure in Jun 2012. But she has an added challenge – leaving her flat in 906 Jurong West St 91 to go for her dialysis sessions in the Renal Life Dialysis Centre at Jurong West Street 81. She needs a wheelchair to move around.

Going for her dialysis sessions thrice weekly is not only a struggle for her, it is also a difficult task for her husband and sole-caretaker Carl. He is 51, bipolar and unemployed due to schizophrenia. He also suffers from OCD and intermittent explosive disorder.

After meeting with a representative from the Town Council about installing an electrical charging point for her wheelchair in the corridor outside her 7th-floor executive apartment HDB flat, Coco was hopeful.

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The Town Council and the Member of Parliament Mr Ang Wei Neng said that the matter needed to be referred to the Singapore Civil Defence Force. This gave Coco hope once more.

However, later, unable to help, her MP even suggested she move house.

Her medical bills, housing bills and her husband’s medical bills have all taken a financial toll on the couple. Though she was working as a preschool principal, Coco stopped working in 2018.

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Though she does not go out much except for her dialysis, the costs she has to bear have added up. Instead of taking an ambulance or transport that can accommodate her wheelchair, Coco relies on her husband to take her around, and even for dialysis.

Her struggle lessened when she managed to get an electric wheelchair on April 7 this year. However, she had to keep it in her flat as the Town Council did not allow it to be recharged in the common area below her flat, even though that common space had access to a lift. The 44-kilogram wheelchair is also too heavy for her husband to carry up or down the staircase each time Coco has to go for dialysis.

What happens next? 

Well, Coco tells TISG that the HDB still wants her to move, but because she is scheduled for surgery on May 18, “HDB will let me rest first”.

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“Nowadays, I go to the dialysis centre by private medical escort funded by my social worker”, she adds.

“All I wanted at the beginning was just an electric wheelchair to go to the dialysis centre on my own. I can’t depend on my mentally ill husband who is also getting old. I also need to think of saving on the transportation expenses that are already eating into our very limited rental income.”

In order to bear their medical expenses, Coco has turned to crowdfunding and has started selling homemade baked pastries. She has temporarily stopped selling them because of her upcoming surgery but plans to resume selling them in June.

Support her cause here.  /TISG

Read related: Wheelchair-bound woman struggles getting in and out of home because of inconsiderate neighbours and no lift access


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