Budding author needs your help

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 June, 2009, 12:00am

The children's charity Smile Foundation has helped a teenage novelist from Malaysia to set up the Alicia Medical Fund to raise money urgently needed for surgery to treat her life-threatening condition.

Twelve-year-old Alicia Loh suffers from a motor neuron disease.

Alicia is a talented writer. She has written three English novels, and her work has been published by the British Council in Malaysia, in Malaysian newspapers, China Press and the Kosmo Dailies.

At the age of three, Alicia was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, making it impossible for her to lead a normal life and go to school. She was taught at home by her mother who gave up her career as an accountant to look after her. The expenses for the regular treatment that Alicia receives at a local hospital have imposed a heavy financial burden on the family.

In 2007, Alicia's condition worsened.

Her spine was curved, causing her organs to cramp up and her lung capacity to be reduced to 40 per cent.

Alicia had sought medical treatment both in Malaysia and Singapore, but there was no significant improvement in her condition. Finally, she found hope in a surgeon from the United States.

Alicia would have to undergo three operations to stay alive: spinal corrective surgery; stem cell treatment; and pelvic joint realignment surgery.

The total cost of the surgeries is about US$380,000.

With a loan from a credit institution, Alicia was able to have her first surgery in April, but she now urgently needs donations to continue her treatments.

If you would like to help Alicia, visit http://www.smile-foundation.org/index.htm