PETALING JAYA: Well-wishers have donated more than RM68,000 within 24 hours to help former national squash star Kenneth Low, who has fallen on hard times.
Donations ranged from RM10 to RM1,000, showing the ever virtuous care displayed by the public towards the health and wellbeing of fallen sportspeople.
“I am eternally grateful to everyone who has given me a new lease on life, and special thanks to FMT for highlighting my plight,” said Low, who has been battling poor health over the past two years.
He is suspected to be suffering from stroke-induced impairment, reduced coordination and motor skills, cognitive disability and short-term memory dysfunction.
Low, 47, needed money for tests to determine the severity of the damage to his brain.
The National Athletes Welfare Foundation (Yakeb) has arranged for an appointment for Low with a neuro specialist at Sungai Buloh Hospital on Friday.
Yakeb has begun providing a monthly allowance of RM300 to Low, who is struggling financially and working as a cleaner at the Best Archery Centre in Glo Damansara.
Low is one of many former athletes who had given up their studies to pursue their sporting careers, and does not have an education background to fall back on.
He said he was extremely emotional over the outpouring of care. “I don’t know how to repay them, I can’t thank them enough.
“I’m determined to fight my illness, and just like the athlete I was, I will resolutely face the challenges,” said Low, who is separated from his wife and 11-year-old son.
The archery centre’s owner, Jeffrey Kok, said: “The public’s overwhelming response to Kenneth’s plight is typical of what the caring Malaysian spirit could accomplish.”
In thanking FMT for driving public support, he hoped the authorities would have a more meaningful model to assist needy national athletes after their retirement.
Low was hired as a coach at the archery centre, but has been doing menial chores since last month to help him get back his body coordination. A simple chore like stringing a bow is challenging for him.
Once a six-time national No. 1 squash player, No. 4 in Asia and No. 38 in the world, Low had worked as a cleaner at condominiums and later as a waiter in a restaurant over the past two years.
His first job was with the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) as a national coach after which he took charge of the Federal Territories team.
He then went on to coach the Thailand, Pahang and Perak teams before it was established coaching would be difficult for him due to his poor mental health.
Those who wish to help Low may make their contributions to Public Bank account 4919 922 822, with “Kenneth Low Welfare” as the reference.
The bank account is in the name of Jeffrey Kok because Kenneth is unable to handle such matters due to his poor mental health and lack of body coordination.