Toh Xin Ling, a 38-year-old woman in Singapore, passed away tragically from valvular heart disease on 3rd August, just three days after giving birth to her second child.
Ms Toh Xinling Zhuo was diagnosed with high blood pressure when she was about 26 years old. It was only after examination that she realized that she had a congenital heart condition known as bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), faced risks during pregnancy, but her love for children led her to embrace motherhood despite the dangers.
A Loving Personality
Always cheerful and full of life, Ms Toh never let her heart condition define her. She embraced even activities like dragon boating with courage and humour. Family and friends, who described Ms Toh as an “angel” and someone who lived like a queen, felt her loss deeply.
Friends and Family Mourn
Her husband, Mr Ang, was devastated by her sudden departure, explaining that the family was not mentally prepared for the loss. “She left us so suddenly that none of us was mentally prepared for her to leave,” he said. Tributes poured in on social media, expressing sorrow and sharing memories of a vibrant woman who loved to help others.
A Community’s Support
After Ms Toh’s passing, a touching gesture of support emerged. Friends of Ms Toh came together to donate enough breast milk to last the newborn for about two to three months. The amount collected was a significant contribution, highlighting the deep affection and respect they had for Ms Toh. The donations align with her wish that the child be breastfed, and the family has expressed their gratitude.
A friend wrote, “We won’t see the blue tick in our group chats anymore. But your presence will be represented by your two adorable girls in our lives. We will let them know how noble, kind, selfless, silly, funny, loving and strong their mother was.”
Bicuspid Aortic Valve (BAV) Explained
Though advised of the risks of pregnancy, she successfully gave birth to her first child two years ago without any complications.
The aortic valve is one of the heart’s four valves that helps regulate blood flow. Typically, it consists of three leaflets or cusps that open and close. However, in individuals with a bicuspid aortic valve, there are only two leaflets. The abnormal shape of a bicuspid valve can restrict blood flow, making the heart work harder to pump blood. Over time, this can lead to heart muscle weakness and heart failure.
Ms Toh’s husband brought their two-year-old daughter to the hospital to bid a final farewell to her mother. Although young, the child understood that something was different and cried for her mother. Mr Ang hopes to instil in their children the knowledge of how much their mother loved them and the many virtues she possessed.
The story of Toh Xin Ling, who succumbed to her congenital heart condition, leaving behind a grieving family, has united a community in support and remembrance. The community celebrates her courage, kindness, and zest for life, and the touching act of donating breast milk symbolizes their commitment to honouring her memory. Therefore, her life though cut tragically short, leaves an enduring legacy of love and compassion.
Photo credit: Supplied to Shin Min Daily News
Medical Channel Asia sends its condolences to the family.