Wed, Oct 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Vendor makes hospitals beneficiaries

By Huang Ming-tang  /  Staff reporter

Chen Shu-chu on June 25 visits the market in Taitung where she worked for more than 50 years.

Photo: Huang Ming-tang, Taipei Times

Retired vegetable vendor and philanthropist Chen Shu-chu (陳樹菊) has made two Taitung hospitals the beneficiaries of her insurance policies when she dies, which would give them at least NT$16 million (US$516,662).

Mackay Memorial Hospital Taitung Branch and Taitung Christian Hospital, which are to receive at least NT$8.3million and NT$7.7 million respectively, have established funds to handle the money, which is to be used to subsidize treatment for needy Taitung residents.

The money would be available to people with low or medium-low incomes, and those verified as economically disadvantaged by social workers, up to a maximum of NT$50,000 per year.

Chen in August signed contracts for the donations, but did not make a public announcement.

However, when Taitung County Commissioner Justin Huang (黃健庭) learned of her decision, he decided to hold an event today to encourage more people to donate to charity.

Chen, 67, who retired earlier this year, began selling vegetables in Taitung’s Central Market when she was 13, and used to keep her donations quiet and private, but she said she now feels differently.

She said she hopes her donations to the two hospitals would encourage more people to donate so that poor people in Taitung could afford medical treatment.

Chen’s desire to help stems from two family tragedies.

When she was 13, her mother died from childbirth complications because the family did not have the money to pay for needed surgery, Chen said.

Six years later, her younger brother, who was then in fourth grade, became seriously ill, but the family could not afford a doctor; by the time a teacher was able to raise enough money from classmates to send the boy to a hospital, it was too late, she said.

She began selling vegetables to help her family escape from poverty and worked 20 hours a day; she made it her life’s goal to help the poor receive medical treatment, she said.

Having made a living in Taitung for 56 years, she wants to give back to the city’s residents, she said.

She retired earlier this year after developing appendicitis in February and undergoing emergency surgery.

“Life is short. We are born with no material possessions and shall die the same way. Money is only useful when it is in the hands of people in need,” she said.

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