On May 31st 2019, I was at my wits’ end. I was in Malaysia and utterly broken after seven days of caring and fighting for Gabbie, my sweet wife, who was gravely ill. I was desperately trying to secure additional medical treatment for Gabbie and so I called Jeri Chua who was just over the waters in Singapore. I knew Jeri from working together on events in Hong Kong and photographing her during races. I instinctively knew that I could call her. I wept hysterically for pretty much most of the call but managed to get my urgent request for help across. Later that night, I was in an ambulance with Gabbie, who was in a coma, crossing the border and bound for a hospital in Singapore.
I will not go into the painful details of the six weeks that followed and ultimately led to us losing our battle to save my beautiful wife of twenty three years. Instead, what follows is an account of the selfless and kind acts shown by Jeri and her partner Roberto during those dark, dark days and some information about a small gesture of gratitude from me that you can be part of.
It is now over fifteen months since I made that call to Jeri and I am still grieving the loss of Gabbie. I miss her every minute, of every hour, of each and every day. I am now in England with our daughter Anya and until recently, have pretty much withdrawn from most forms of contact except for hand writing letters to friends. Until this point, I have not been in a position to write in this manner but I want to share these words now so that others know that there are genuinely good people around who run small businesses that would benefit from our support during these trying times.
I know that I could never truly repay Jeri, Roberto, Andre & Paper Blumberg and others who have gone so many extra miles during those painful days and still do so. That is not what I am aiming for but what I can do is to offer one of the few assets that I still have, my creative work and ability, in a way to demonstrate my gratitude by supporting the business that Jeri owns.
Jeri runs a running store in Singapore called Red Dot Running Company that sells a range of running gear (apparel, nutrition etc) and other items aimed at outdoor activities. I have been there a number of times before Gabbie fell ill. It is a welcoming and friendly place and during these times where small businesses are taking hits due to the impact of COVID-19, I want to do what I can to support and show gratitude for being there when I was in desperate need..
Before I share some more details of how Jeri and Roberto supported Gabbie, Anya & myself, I will provide some details of my offer that you can be part of:
Offer of Gratitude:
Between September 1st until September 30th 2020, if you are one of the first twenty people who place a single order that exceeds SGD350 (approx: USD256/HKD1985/GBP194) from Red Dot Running Company either via their online store or in person at their store in Singapore, then I will send a high quality fine art print of an image of your choice from an exclusive collection of images that I have taken over the years. These A4 size prints usually cost SGD80 (HKD450/USD58/GBP44) and printed on Hahnemühle paper, which is a high quality paper used in galleries & exhibitions. I will also arrange for your print to be delivered by courier from the studio in Hong Kong that prints my photography work for clients, to you where ever you are in the world.
All fees will be waived and will not cost a penny to any of the first twenty people. The available prints can be found here and this offer is eligible on a world wide basis. So, even if you do not live in Singapore then you can place an order via their online store as they deliver worldwide as well. After placing the order with RDRC, they will issue you a code that you can enter upon checkout after selecting your image via my online store. Upon entering this code, you will receive a 100% discount and all you need to do is wait for the print to be delivered to you by courier.
To understand my gratitude and the context for this offer, then what follows is a synopsis of how Jeri supported me, my daughter Anya and ultimately my sweet Gabbie while we were in Singapore during June and July 2019. After crossing the border with Gabbie in a coma, I did not want to leave Gabbie’s side. I lived in the hospital’s ICU waiting room and slept on the floor when I was not in Gabbie’s ICU room. I had no change of clothes after leaving Malaysia in a rush and I washed in the small hospital public toilet sinks. Suffice to say, I was not eating or sleeping well as I had far more important things to focus on.
Jeri came to the hospital to see me and started a chapter of visits and acts of kindness over the following weeks. She saw the situation I was in and the very next visit brought some clothes, toiletries, sleeping bag, mat & pillow, fruit, Vitamin C tablets, baby wipes to wash with, and some books to read during the long hours of watching over Gabbie.
During the following weeks after this initial visit, Jeri organised food to be delivered to the waiting room, money to support us, teaming up with Andre & Paper Blumberg to rent a place for Anya and Gabbie’s sisters who had flown in from Taiwan. Although I continued to stay at the ICU (as I could not bear to leave Gabbie) at least my family had a place to stay. I could also write another few pages about the kindness and generousity of Andre & Paper Blumberg towards us but I will leave that for another day.
Jeri turned up many times during the night and day to be there, even though she had a business to run. She was simply there when I struggled to speak and was a weeping wreck. She worked with others to organise an online fund that many generous and kind people gave to and that we have desperately needed as I have pretty much been unable to work since then.
Beyond these days at the hospital in Singapore, support was there for us as Jeri & Roberto came to Gabbie’s cremation and continued to be there for us with practical support in the painfully difficult days afterwards.
For those that are reading this because you are already a customer of Red Dot Running Company and heard about this offer, then I hope that you have learned more about why this is a business that is worth your continued loyalty and support. For others who are reading this for any other reason, then please join me in showing gratitude to the people behind this business by placing an order whether it is eligible for a print or not. In these turbulent times, we not only need to reach out, like Jeri, to others who are struggling but also support small businesses that are run by folk that you can count on.
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