When Ronny first encountered Assisi Hospice over 20 years ago, he never imagined that he would end up serving two terms as the Chairman of its Board of Directors.
Ronny found out about Assisi Hospice when he organised a golf game to raise funds for a family affected by cancer. The family had decided to donate the sum to Assisi Hospice.
Ronny met the FMDM Sisters and was captivated by their mission and work. He said, “I felt deeply for the cause and decided that I should help them raise money to support their services”. When Ronny rose up the ranks from a mid-level treasury professional in the local market place to President of ACI which organised the golf game and later, as Chief Country Officer of Deutsche Bank, he mobilised his employers, colleagues and peers to help Assisi Hospice collect funds for ward refurbishment, children day care program, etc.
Despite his corporate success, when he was approached by the then Chairman, Mr J Y Pillay to join the Assisi Hospice’s Board of Directors, he was not sure that he was strong enough to be directly involved in the work of looking after the dying. Ronny soon brushed aside his doubts to focus on key challenges at hand, including tackling growing numbers on the in-patient waiting list and advocating for greater visibility and recognition for palliative care. He explained, “Until recently, palliative care in Singapore was provided by the private or non-profit sectors. Even as it evolves from the fringe into the mainstream healthcare system, there is still much to be done in growing the capacity and capability, adopting best practices and helping people to understand the scope and benefits of such care”.
Under the stewardship of the Board led by Ronny, Assisi Hospice is pushing the boundaries of palliative care in Singapore, with a bigger hospice being built on state land next to the current premises. “Project Next Door” is designed not only to provide a modern home-like environment for patients and their families, but also dedicated wards for paediatric and dementia patients.
When ready, it will be the largest and most comprehensive hospice providing home care, day care and in-patient services. With that in mind, the Board, management and staff are striving to transform and strengthen its tradition of delivering quality, personalised and compassionate patient-centred care.
Ronny found his long and active involvement with Assisi Hospice to be “joyful, meaningful and humbling”. During his 9-year tenure on the Board, he observed “The demand for palliative care is rising fast and the biggest challenge for us is the shortage of healthcare manpower. I hope that more volunteers, both corporate and individual, will step forward so that Assisi Hospice can do more to serve the community”.