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Apr 28, 2017
It was meant to be a celebratory trip but in an unexpected turn of events, a Singaporean family of three is now stuck in a foreign land with a huge medical debt to pay off.
On April 19, 2017, Singaporean Eileen Cheong, 25, and her parents flew to Tokyo. It was a trip to celebrate her mother's remission from cancer.
But when they arrived at their destination, her father, who has had a history of heart failure, when into cardiac arrest. He was resuscitated and admitted to Toho Medical University Omori Hospital where he remains in the intensive care unit (ICU).
In need of financial help, Ms Cheong turned to crowdfunding site Giveasia to appeal for donations so that she can bring her father, who is currently in coma, back to Singapore.
According to Ms Cheong, hospital bills have come up to $120,000. Each night in the ICU there costs approximately $10,000.
The family has not been able to claim their medical bills from their insurer because of her father's pre-existing heart condition.
According to the doctors in Japan, Mr Cheong may never recover from this. They were also unable to say when he will come out of his coma.
But Ms Cheong still hopes her father can return to Singapore where he can receive subsidized healthcare.
"While my father's life hangs on the line on foreign soil, we have no idea if and when we will be able to bring him home," she wrote.
"Our hope is to bring him back to Singapore, where we can receive subsidized healthcare and financial aid, not to mention emotional support from our loved ones.
"However, our only viable option is to arrange for a medical evacuation, which will cost us another approximately SGD$120,000 (based on quotations obtained) that we are unprepared for but have to shoulder."
In total, Ms Cheong is in need of about $250,000 for her father's medical bills, including air ambulance transfer.
Ms Cheong shared that as a fresh graduate, she earns less than $3,000 a month and while she tutors in her spare time, the money she earns goes into supplementing their household income and paying off student loans.
Her mother is a homemaker and her father is a logistics manager who earns an average of about $3,000-$4,000 a month.
At the time of this report, slightly over $100,000 has been raised to help Ms Cheong and her family.