Father of 5 draws strength from his wife

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Kelvin Choo with his wife and 5 boys, aged 2 to 10. They were also ambassadors of Run For Hope 2016.

Kelvin Choo – father of five boys aged 2 to 10 – is a cancer survivor who draws his strengths from his family, especially his dedicated wife.

Read on to learn more about his story as our Run For Hope 2017 ambassador.

  1. When were you diagnosed and at what age?

I was diagnosed in 2012 with stage 3 colon cancer. I was aged 47 then.

  1. How did you find the strength to go through the treatments?

Seeing my wife tending to the family, her work and looking after me during my recuperation gave me the strength that I should not give up on my treatment, but to look forward to each day. I felt that I should not let her shoulder the burden herself.

  1. What did friends or family members do or say that meant the most to you?

Friends and family members were very supportive on my road to recovery by reassuring me that medical sciences are very advanced in treating this illness. They also helped me by taking on my work when I went for treatment.

  1. Can you share anything about donating to the Run For Hope cause?

I am running this Run For Hope 2017 for my father who lost the battle in 2016, and for all those who are still receiving treatment. My message to them is that they should not give up – press on!


Kelvin and his family will be participating in Run For Hope 2017. Join him and thousands of other survivors to raise awareness and support for cancer research at http://tinyurl.com/zn6kqyd.

Mother of 3: Her Battle with Thyroid Cancer

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Sylvia and her family are banning together in the battle against cancer.

Receiving news of her diagnosis just one week after her youngest son’s birthday was a blow to Sylvia Ong’s life. The writer and 35-year-old mother of 3 told us what motivated her in her battle, and how she overcame it.

  1. When were you diagnosed and at what age?

I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma in October 2014 – just a week after I celebrated my youngest and third child’s first birthday. I was 33 at the time.

  1. What was your first reaction when you were told that you had cancer?

I couldn’t believe my ears. I kept thinking the doctor was going to tell me that he made a mistake somewhere. Because how was that possible? Me – cancer? There was no pain, no symptoms, nothing, and furthermore, I was still breastfeeding my child at the time.

  1. How did you find the strength to go through the treatments?

It was definitely my mum and my three kids, I wanted to be well for them again. Also, my doctor was very encouraging, as he kept telling me that thyroid cancer is the best cancer to have. There was a high chance of making a full recovery, and there was no need for chemotherapy since it doesn’t react to it, and it was just a surgery to worry about.

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Sylvia will be participating in Run For Hope 2017. Join her and thousands of other survivors to raise awareness and support for cancer research at http://tinyurl.com/zn6kqyd.

Struck by a rare cancer in my 30s

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Judy Anthony, Late 30s
Senior Enrolled Nurse
Singapore National Eye Centre

A loving mom, a dedicated nurse, a fighter.

  1. When were you diagnosed and at what age?

I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Fallopian tube cancer in 2014. I consulted my gynecologist about a painful sensation in my left abdomen which pain killers could not relieve.

  1. What was your first reaction when you were told that you had cancer?

It was a big shock to me as my family has no history with cancer or other illnesses. My cancer was rare in Singapore and I required surgery and chemo therapy. At first I didn’t want to go for any treatment as I feared the side effects of chemo.

  1. How did you find the strength to go through the treatments?

I was lucky to enjoy the support of my family and close friends who gave me the assurance to commence the treatment. They were very supportive – always calling and messaging me just to ask if I was ok. During ‘good weeks’ when I was feeling well, I would meet up with my friends for a meal and catch up with them. This made me feel like life was still normal.

  1.    What did friends or family members do or say that meant the most to you?

Cancer was easier to deal with compared to being bald and feeling ugly. That was so tough to deal with. My family and friends would always tell me I still looked the same. They bought me scarfs and presents to brighten my day. When I was almost at the end of my chemo I experienced memory loss and it was scary not to even know my address or NRIC number. As such, my 16 year-old daughter would make sure I was never alone as even counting money was difficult. My friends would also offer to fetch and send me back to ensure my safety.

When I came back to work, my hair was so short but my bosses and colleagues were so kind and told me it was cool. In addition, as a nurse, it was almost impossible to avoid being exposed to infectious cases. But they would look out for me by volunteering to take over.

  1. What are the things you are able to do now as a result for winning the battle against cancer?

Looking back at my journey I am truly blessed to have good support from family, friends and the cancer group. It’s been two years since I was diagnosed and each day is a blessing to me. I want to live my life to the fullest and be a role model to those who have cancer.

  1. Can you share anything about donating to the Run For Hope cause?

I took part in my first Run For Hope last year and promised I would run every year. I was further encouraged to be a better nurse and help those in need. I make an extra effort to eat healthy and have a good balance between work and play.

Even though I am a nurse, the battle was tough. The fear of pain and death was constantly on my mind, and no one should suffer alone. To combat loneliness, I attended parties and feel good make up sessions. All these would not have been possible without the kind donations. I truly believe that every dollar donated would make someone feel better.

Thank you for this opportunity. I hope to raise awareness and help others.

Judy will be participating in Run For Hope 2017. Join her and thousands of other survivors to raise awareness and support for cancer research at http://tinyurl.com/zn6kqyd.

13 with skin cancer

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Photo credit: Photographer Dave Poh

23-year-old skin cancer survivor Mr Goh Chang Teck, had brushes with the disease since a young age of 13. We ask him how he felt upon hearing the diagnosis, and the things he is able to enjoy today as a result of winning the battle against cancer.

  1. When were you diagnosed and at what age?

As a Primary 5 student in 2005, strange sores and eruptions appeared all over my body, but I thought they were normal. It wasn’t until 2 years later at the age of 13 that I was diagnosed with Mycosis Fungoides and Pityriasis Lichenoides – both are forms of skin cancers that affects the lymph nodes. Over time, the sores and developed into fungus-like clusters of dried, reddish and scaly skin. These appeared mostly on my legs, coupled with white spots that appeared on my upper body.

Nevertheless, life carried on and I was thankful to be able to do everything normally, like everyone my age. But in 2013, two months prior to enlisting in the army, I was re-diagnosed with the above mentioned conditions. This time, however, I had progressed from Stage 1 to Stage 2A.

  1. What was your first reaction when you were told that you had cancer?

When the doctors finally broke the news that I was indeed suffering from cancer, my first reaction was: “Why me of all people?” I was lost, disgusted, disappointed, and guilty.

Lost because everything I planned before graduating from polytechnic had all gone down the drain. Disgusted because I couldn’t take it in my stride my body looked and felt this way. Disappointed because I wouldn’t be able to serve National Service, and be judged by people around me for not having done so. And finally, guilty, because I had to be another burden to my parents when I could have signed on upon enlisting in the army.

But all was not lost, because I had hope. I found strength in my family and close friends, who constantly gave words of encouragement and physical and emotional support during moments when I felt the treatments weren’t working out well. You get a heightened sense of gratefulness when you realise the extent that some people would go to just to see you happy and strong!

  1. What are the things you are able to do now as a result for winning the battle against cancer?

I wouldn’t say that I have won the battle against cancer because I am simply fighting a battle in which I am stronger. I’m taking every opportunity to make sure that I have a constant advantage over my worst enemy, such as my friends and family. On that note, I’m still doing the things that I love to do, such as running. But more importantly, I am able to spend time with my loved ones!

  1. Can you share anything about donating to the Run For Hope cause?

I think about donations the same way you think about sharing good things like delicious snacks and lobangs! I believe that if you are able to spend two hours walking around shopping malls to shop for the latest deals, you can similarly challenge yourself with a new fitness goal by starting out with a 10km run-walk at Run For Hope 2017 while contributing to cancer research!

Chang Teck will be participating in Run For Hope 2017. Join him and thousands of other survivors to raise awareness and support for cancer research at http://tinyurl.com/zn6kqyd.

Cancer was the best thing that happened to me

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Ms Kate Wong, a 75-year-old breast cancer survivor and a dragon boater of the Pink Spartans dragon boat team cancer support group, shares about her brush with cancer and how she transformed the ordeal into opportunity.

  1. When were you diagnosed and at what age?

I was diagnosed on 14 Jan 2002. I was 61 then.

  1. What was your first reaction when you were told that you had cancer?

I was a kindergarten school principal when I got the news. Naturally, I was a bit shock as I was so busy in my education career and wasn’t aware of cancer and its symptoms.

Fortunately, I was diagnosed at the first stage. It was by chance during a mammogram when a surgeon discovered that I had lumps in my breasts.

A one-hour biopsy examination revealed that I had aggressive breast cancer. Though the cancer was in its first stage, I decided to undergo a mastectomy surgery, which is the surgical removal of the entire breast. I thought it was better to lose my breast than to lose my life.

After the surgery, I went through four cycles of chemo, and then five years of hormonal therapy.

  1. What are the things you are able to do now as a result for winning the battle against cancer?

I think cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me.

It helped me decide to quit my stressful job to stop and smell for the roses. It gave me the opportunity to meet other cancer survivors and take up fulfilling activities such dragon boating with the Pink Spartans, an activity I am still active in.

There is life after breast cancer. Personally, I enjoyed the camaraderie of meeting and befriending other cancer survivors. It also motivated me to exercise via gymming and swimming. Today, I am still physically healthy and swim twice a week.

All these happened only after my cancer.

I am very thankful to the staff of National Cancer Centre Singapore. The doctors, nurses and support group helped me a lot.

Join her and thousands of other survivors to raise awareness and support for the cancer research at http://tinyurl.com/zn6kqyd.

Live Updates for Run For Hope 2016 – Stay Tuned!

Hi runners!

Stay tuned to this page for live updates on Run Day morning.

5am:
Good morning everyone!
It’s 2hr to Run For Hope and we’re looking forward to seeing all of you.

Don’t forget your running shoes, water bottle and a hand towel. Most importantly, don’t leave your smile at home!

Watch this space for updates throughout the day and see you soon :)


6am:
It’s 1hr to Run For Hope.
Weather is looking great and hopefully it stays that way.
Another 50mins before our GOH Mr Chee Hong Tat (Ministry of Health and Ministry of Communications and Information) arrives.
Do watch this space and also the Facebook for more updates!


6.45am:
Runners are congregating at the start point.
Do make your way there after dropping off your belongings!


7.00am:
‘Wefie’ taken with GOH Mr Chee Hong Tat.
Our celebrity ambassadors are ready to go for the SCDF & 10km run.


7.30am:
Executive challenge for the 3.5km and normal 3.5km fun run will begin shortly!


8.00am:
Runners return to Promontory!


8.30am:

  • Cool down session by Team Singapore and fitness trainer, Shane Kelly.
  • Executive Challenge prize presentation
  • Closing Speech by Chair, Run for Hope 2016
  • Run For Hope Trivia Questions and Stage Games

 

We have a Winner! (“I Run For…” contest)

Hi, my name is CChang Teck - I run For contest winnerhang Teck, 22, this year and friends & family address me as CT! Here is a photo of me racing The North Face 100 Singapore in the 13KM category and emerging 2nd place.

9 years ago I was diagnosed with Mycosis Fungoides, a rare form of skin cancer that affects the lymph node when I was 13.

People who don’t know me judge me for being exempted from National Service, claiming that I ‘chao keng’, but that’s okay.

People avoid me once they see the scars and plagues on my thigh thinking that they are contagious, but that’s okay too.

People chide me for making unconventional decisions, thinking that my dreams are impossible, but that’s fine as well.

Life does not get easier every single day knowing that you incur thousands of dollars every year for medical treatments, medicines and the like.

Sometimes, we do get the feeling like we are a huge burden to everybody because of our condition as we are unable to do the everyday things that normal people do.

But do I just want to be normal?
And that is why I run.

14 marathons and a few ultramarathons later, I found out that the people who mind, don’t matter and the people who matter, don’t mind. I am really thankful for having awesome friends and family providing all kinds of support in the crazy pursuit of my dreams.

Who, or what do I run for and why?
Running is a release. Running is an outlet. Running is therapy.
Running doesn’t need reason, we just go.

We are but creatures of passion, driven to achieve beyond the norms.

We want to prove to ourselves that limits are meant to be broken, and that cancer is just another limit in life that is waiting to be broken through any means possible, because to earn the best days in life, we have to fight through some bad days to know that it is going to be worth it in the end.


Congratulations CT!

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful and inspiring story.

Run For Hope Committee

Buddy Contest Winner!

To all the Buddy Contest participants, thank you for your submissions. We heard you!

We received several touching stories. After much deliberation, the winner of the Run For Hope Buddy Contest is Mr Lawrence Chew!

Here’s his story:

It was September 2012. Dark gloomy clouds were seen hovering over a quiet day in Punggol. It was our usual evening at home after work. Seated in front of the television after dinner, my wife’s mobile phone rang. “Hello, is that Vivien speaking?” My wife gave an affirmative reply and after a long pause over the phone, the mood in the house took a drastic change. It was a call from the clinic at the hospital.

Vivien was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It was akin to a bombshell being dropped onto us as the word cancer confronted us like judgement, a death sentence. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing my beloved of 24 years so soon. What is going to happen to our two young kids?

After consulting several doctors, we were assured that the early stage thyroid cancer is curable, due to years of research and improved surgical procedures. We sighed a great relief. Vivien recovered and was doing well after her surgery and ensuing treatments.

Just when we thought all was going swimmingly well, Vivien was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in January 2014. Countless thoughts were racing through our minds once again. The same questions and anxieties had befallen upon us – Would this be treatable? Is there any medicine that can arrest the spread? Are there any good surgical procedures available?

Vivien went through lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She’s now on medication and is doing very well. Without cancer research, these wonderful treatments and drugs wouldn’t be available to us today. 50 years ago, cancer is almost as good as a death sentence, and the quality of life will be adversely affected too. Although there are still many types of cancer that doctors can’t do much about, cancer research had already come this far today such that some cancers are curable and preventable.

I’m Lawrence Chew and I’m running for the first time for ‘Run For Hope’, together with my buddy, Teh Siew Yee. He journeyed with me through this entire ordeal – the initial shock and disbelief, the eruptive anger towards life’s injustice and the silent tears, the despair and unspoken fears of what ifs, the anxieties and unending questions during medical appointments, the struggle through each stage of treatment, the supportive prayers and encouragements, the anticipation of recovery, the joy and relief of the final outcome and the great hope of cherishing brighter days ahead. I came to know about ‘Run For Hope” through my wife, and she’s precisely the reason why I decided to run and do my bit for cancer research.

Cancer research has given us hope and today we need not equate cancer to the end of the road anymore. Cancer is no longer synonymous to cul-de-sac. I strongly believe that through cancer research, many people and the quality of life of those affected by cancer can greatly improve. It may not happen in our lifetime, but the medical advancement thus far points towards a hope that cure for cancer can eventually be made available. Through good research and funding, we have a hope that this will definitely happen in our children’s lifetime and their future generations.

Because of hope, life is worth celebrating. Vivien has never experienced snow in her lifetime. My aspiration is to save up through my daily income as a cab driver to bring her to a place where there is snow. I came across this contest via ‘Run for Hope’ Facebook page and hopefully I can realise my dream for her sooner.

 

Lawrence wins a pair of ANA flight tickets to Japan and a 2 Nights’ stay for 2, including breakfast at Four Seasons Marunouchi, Tokyo.

Congratulations Lawrence! 

 

Flight tickets with compliments from ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS.

 

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