I know patients who have benefitted from cancer research. They are now living longer and enjoying better quality of life.

I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1998. While I was undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery for the first six month, my son arrived prematurely and we were all struggling with the sudden change in our lives.

However, I did not allow this unfavorable illness to ruin the way I lived.  Over the years, we have put the experience from those 6 months of ordeal to good use. We have met and supported numerous cancer patients, caregivers and spoken to interest groups. Many of whom have walked with me during that tumultuous period, and they are still around.

This urge was so strong that I slowly picked up running to rebuild my strength and my body. My first run was the Terry Fox run. It was a major spark that started my engagement in endurance races; marathon, biathlon, triathlon followed by Aviva 70.3 Ironman.

All these while, I have the complete support from my dearest wife, Dorothy Hoo. She has been through a lot with me, in sickness and in health. And up till today, though she simply does not like to run, she was there with and for me. She is the pillar and support of my life, my constant companion, and she is one major inspiration to me!

Cancer has indefinitely changed my lifestyle and perspective towards life. I learned to have greater appreciation towards my family, spend my precious time wisely, always have the ‘do your best’ attitude, and care for others as the world doesn’t just revolve around you.

Nevertheless, staying healthy and being active is equally essential.  I’ve been active in sports since my school days, and picked it up again after I’ve recovered from cancer.

Just a simple message from me out to the young people; you must find your reasons to do certain thing, which is reasonable. Find one and you will enjoy it for life. The benefits you reap will be life-long. Anyone who actively participates in sports is less likely to regret having done so. It is just simply so enjoyable!

Run For Hope is an annual running event organised in aid of cancer research. The funds accumulated from this run will help find us a better cure for cancer. Financing cancer research, for that matter any research, is costly and at the end of the day, we may come to a dead end. However, I know patients who have benefitted from cancer research and are now living longer and/or better quality of life.

14 years ago, monoclonal antibodies were not a mainstream cancer therapeutic drug. Comparatively, the landscape today is much improved and vastly enhanced.

Avid runners out there, I hope you all will take this great opportunity to participate in this run for a good cause. As for non-runners, you can always make this your first run. Let’s contribute together to cancer research and you owe it to yourself to stay active!

Finally, I just want to point out something that is not directly related to cancer research. The palliative management of patients may have to come up to speed in the pace of development and efficient provision of healthcare services. Compounding factors of aging population and increasing diagnosis of cancer are weighing in on the demand of a quality and accessible cancer management program. It will be a tall order for NCCS but we believe the Centre will do what is best for the patients at its doorsteps.

Lim Tau Wei, 40

July 2012

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