Wed, Jul 21, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Center hopes to raise NT$120 million for severely disabled

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Sacred Heart Home for Severely Retarded Youth held the first viewing of a new commercial created by famous local director Wu Nien-jen (吳念真) in Taipei yesterday and asked the public to donate funds toward the building of its new long-term care facility.

The center, located in Chiayi, was founded in 1980 by Father Francis Burkhardt, and accepts individuals from the ages 5 to 50 with multiple moderate-to-severe mental and physical disabilities for live-in and daytime care.

To expand on its founding principle to "accept those that society cannot or will not accept," the center is hoping to raise over US$3.55 million for its Francis Garden, a new building addition which will play home to over 200 clients. There, daytime and live-in clients will receive skills training, physical and mental therapy. The distinguishing feature of the Francis Garden, said center head Liu Chen-wang (劉振旺), is that the facility will house patients needing life-long care.

Sister Kao Hui-lin (高慧琳), center director before Liu, said that a couple of years ago, they began thinking of establishing a life-long care system when they realized the serious need for such a service.

One such case that helped inspire the Francis Garden was that of 57-year-old "Shiao Min," whose mother died a couple of years ago.

Father Burkhardt realized that such worries were common for the families of their clients and told Kao that the center needed to do something to lay the families' worries to rest.

"When we took him to see his mom, we reassured her that we would always look after Shiao Min," Kao said.

"We found out later that she died a couple of days after we went, so you can tell that she had been holding on to life out of worry for her son."

The center hopes to raise the needed amount of money by 2007.

A TV advertisement will premiere on cable TV channels Era TV and GTV next week, center representatives said.

To learn more about the center, call at (05)-3795465. To donate money towards the Francis Garden, wire funds to the center's account called "The Sacred Heart Home for Severely Retarded Youth" at the Chunghwa Post Co's banking division, account number 30145981.

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