SINGAPORE: In a heartwarming display of compassion and solidarity, a Singaporean employer has spent over S$30,000 from her own pocket to provide essential medical support for her long-serving Filipina domestic helper, battling second-stage breast cancer.

The domestic helper, Judith, shared her challenging journey with Lianhe Zaobao, recounting the ordeal that began when she started experiencing chest pain in May this year.

At first, she dismissed it as a muscle strain but soon discovered a hard lump on her right chest while taking a shower. Concerned, she promptly informed her employer, Mdm Fu, upon returning home from a trip.

Without delay, Mdm Fu, recognizing the gravity of the situation, accompanied Judith to a medical check-up the following day. The diagnosis was disheartening — Judith was found to have second-stage breast cancer that had already spread to her lymph nodes. The doctor recommended an urgent surgery to remove her right breast to curtail the disease’s progression.

In July, Judith underwent surgery, and subsequent tissue testing confirmed the necessity of 16 rounds of chemotherapy. To ensure the best care for their valued helper, Mdm Fu and her family decided to have Judith receive treatment in Singapore despite being aware of the associated costs.

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As a foreigner, Judith was ineligible for medical subsidies, and her employer’s family bore the financial burden. Their expenses amounted to approximately S$30,000, covering surgical fees, hospitalization costs, and various medical examinations.

However, this significant sum does not encompass the cost of chemotherapy, with each session coming in at around S$1,500, bringing the estimated total for all 16 sessions to S$24,000.

It was revealed that, despite having updated the insurance plan for the maid in 2021, the coverage limit only extended to hospitalization and surgical expenses, excluding other essential follow-up costs. This has left both Judith and her benevolent employer facing the prospect of additional financial strain in the future.

Despite her immense hardships, Judith remains dedicated to Mdm Fu and her family. The domestic helper, aged 55, has been in their employment since 1991 and enjoys a relationship that spans over three decades. Judith expressed her gratitude, stating, “I am lucky to have such an employer.”

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Mdm Fu, who herself is a breast cancer survivor, was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer six years ago and underwent breast reconstruction surgery. She empathizes deeply with Judith’s situation: “Because I have experienced the same thing, I feel very sad to see my maid fighting the disease. I hope she can recover soon.”

Judith plans to renew her contract for two more years despite its expiration in November in a bid to repay her employer’s compassion. Her story serves as a poignant reminder of the power of compassion, solidarity, and the enduring bond between employer and domestic helper.