Social worker Chan Ping-lun believes people in his profession are goodwill matchmakers, putting people in need with those who can offer help. He is the manager of the corporate venture department of St James' Settlement and the founder of the 'Donating Electrical Appliances to Seniors' project. He was featured in a recent South China Morning Post article when he called on the community to help improve the life of a 72-year-old man who had never owned a refrigerator or television. After the story was published in the Post, the elderly man got a new fridge, a TV set and a fan, all donated by the public. Mr Chan, 54, has a story of his own. He started out as a bank clerk but decided to enrol in a training course sponsored by the Social Welfare Department, and in 1976 he became a registered social worker. Although he was diagnosed with cancer last year, he is continuing to do the work he loves - helping people who are less fortunate. 'My wife and all my friends always try to tell me not to work too hard, especially after I was diagnosed with cancer,' he says. But he remains philosophical: 'Everyone dies, and you can't decide how long you are going to live.' He says he is not afraid of cancer or of dying; what haunts him is the fear of not having done the most with his life. Despite facing his own death, Mr Chan has not changed his spiritual outlook. 'Many people I know seem to be baffled by the fact that I am not a religious person even though I work in a religious charitable organisation,' he says. 'I believe in myself and only I can help myself. My career is my religion,' he says with pride, pointing to a pile of social service projects Besides the electrical appliances donation project, Mr Chan has drafted about a dozen programmes aimed at improving the living standards of elderly single people. Even though some people want to help, they often don't know how to go about it. 'Some people desperately need help. There are people who want to help. My job is to match these two types of people,' he says. 'I am not satisfied with just having some ideas to help others but I want my projects to really achieve something, to benefit the elderly population, who are truly neglected.' Mr Chan says he needs experienced social workers to help him but the money to pay them a good salary is in short supply. 'That is the real problem that I face, but I will never give up,' he says resolutely. 'I believe bringing even little improvements is still much better than none,' he says. 'Some people desperately need help. There are people who want to help. My job is to match these two types of people'