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Improving the lives of children with life threatening illness

Speech by Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law, at Arc Children’s Centre’s 10th Anniversary Event

Patron of Arc Children’s Centre, Mrs Goh Chok Tong,
Chairman, Mr Chia Ngiang Hong,
Co-founders, Ms Ronita Paul and Ms Geraldine Lee,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Boys and Girls,

  1. Good morning!
  2. It is my pleasure to join you for the 10th Anniversary celebrations of Arc Children’s Centre.
  3. Congratulations to the team on achieving this milestone!

    Charities like Arc make an impactful difference to vulnerable segments of our community and society at large

  4. Over the last decade, Arc Children’s Centre has done an exemplary job supporting families with children diagnosed with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
  5. Through your programmes and services, you have improved the quality of life of many who have had to grapple with hectic treatment schedules, long hospital stays and difficult prognosis.
    a. One such family is Mr & Mrs Wai whose 2-year old son, Damien, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in 2018.
    b. His mother, Rebecca, spent endless days and nights with her son in the hospital as he underwent intensive treatment.
    c. Like any parent, Rebecca wanted her son to experience a normal childhood amid all his treatments.
    d. I can only imagine the joy that Rebecca must have felt when Arc first provided Damien a safe space where he could play with other children his age.
  6. The families that you help have been impacted by your support.
  7. This is evident in the many children who return as volunteers.
  8. One such example is Batrisyia, who was diagnosed with Leukaemia when she was four.
    a. Like other children, she was referred to Arc by her doctor.
    b. Till this day, she continues to head to Arc during her school holidays.
    c. She shared that the younger children at Arc are always cheerful and they make her happy.
    d. Batrisyia is now 14 years old and she aspires to be a gynaecologist.
  9. Providing respite to parents and caregiving to children who have serious illnesses is a tall order.
  10. What Arc has done is truly exceptional as it has grown into a sanctuary that offers hope and joy.
  11. Arc gives these children opportunities they may otherwise have missed and encourages them to celebrate their childhood.
  12. As a support network, you have helped these children and their families become more resilient.

    Charities need to be resilient and ready to adapt to emerging challenges

  13. Even as COVID-19 took hold around the world last year, Arc continued to offer support.
  14. For a centre that caters to children who have compromised immune systems, there was added impetus to ensure a safe environment.
    a. You were able to make swift adjustments when the pandemic changed the way we live and were able to adapt your in-person programmes and develop take-home activity kits during the ‘circuit breaker’ period.
    b. Arc’s efforts to continue providing day care services during Phase 2 Heightened Alert was commendable.
    c. Your ability to adapt had given parents who did not have viable caregiving alternatives the peace of mind to continue working.
  15. At the same time, you have also successfully embraced digitalisation and pivoted your outreach efforts quickly so as to minimise disruptions to your operations.

    Charities that are good at what they do attract corporates and individuals to support their good work

  16. Although Arc Children’s Centre is a relatively young charity, it has distinguished itself with four consecutive Charity Transparency Awards and a Charity Governance Special Commendation Award for Operational Efficiency.
    a. These accolades confer credibility and have reinforced Arc’s reputation as an organisation that is worthy of support.

    b. It also strengthens the public’s trust in your organisation.
    c. This can be seen in the strong and continued support that you have been receiving from corporates and individuals since you opened your doors in 2011
    d. Thank you for setting a good example to others.
  17. Doing good, and doing it well, inspires trust.
  18. It encourages the spirit of volunteerism in our community.
  19. This is important as we rally nation-wide efforts to join the SG Cares movement to build a caring and inclusive Singapore.


  20. Once again, congratulations on your 10th Anniversary.
  21. The work you have achieved in this short decade has been truly inspiring.
  22. I wish one and all a memorable anniversary party.
  23. I hope that you will continue to deliver joy to the families that you help.
Last updated on 19 November 2021