An anonymous philanthropist yesterday donated NT$100 million to the Taipei City Government, to help in its battle against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
"We are very grateful for his generosity and compassion. This is the largest private donation the city has ever received," said Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
"This is also a commendation of the efforts made by the medical staff at Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital fighting against SARS," Ma said.
According to Ma the entrepreneur's generosity was prompted by the previous care his wife had received from Hoping Hospital. A decade ago the donor's wife developed a high fever on night and went into a coma.
She was sent to a private hospital which was, however, full and could not admit her. Eventually she was admitted to Hoping Hospital where, under the care of the hospital's medical personnel, she made a complete recovery.
When the donor saw the bravery of Hoping Hospital's staff since the imposition of quarantine last week, he recalled the kindness his wife had received and decided to make the donation.
The entrepreneur, who was not willing to reveal his identity, also explained his motivation in a letter.
"Although SARS is formidable, I do not consider it incurable," he wrote.
"The important thing is for the patients to receive thorough care in regards to their spirit, nutrition, environment and treatment. They should believe firmly they could defeat the virus and recover fully.
"Nobody can be disengaged in the battle against SARS. I am most touched by Taipei City, led by the mayor, for its painstaking endeavors," he wrote.
"I hope that my action will find a response among the public, moving them to help as much as they can. We should show our concern and love to bring peace to the whole country.
"I am especially grateful to Hoping Hospital. Ten years ago when I sent my wife to Hoping Hospital, she was tended carefully. Although the equipment at Hoping was slightly outdated, she still recuperated well," he wrote.
In related news, Ma announced yesterday that Hoping Hospital would be turned into a center specially designed to treat SARS patients after it completed the transfer of all its patients and disinfection of all its buildings.
Armed Forces Sung Shan Hospital (國軍松山醫院) would also become another SARS center since it had been taking in SARS patients from Hoping.