The dream to build a cancer youth support group in Malaysia
The thing about me is that I’ve always had a dream to help youths ever since I was 16, while I was volunteering at an orphanage. The only way I thought I could help was to be a psychologist, to help them in terms of their socioemotional wellbeing. That was the main reason I studied psychology up to the PhD level.
However, when I entered into my PhD courses, I realize that the research I was doing wasn’t directly helping the youth, but rather for the academic community mostly. I was disheartened to say the least, and decided to come back to Malaysia to continue my research instead.
Then, cancer hit me when I turned 27, but when the doctor confirmed it was cancer, I was sad of course, but I felt really calm, like there is a reason for me having the dreaded Big-C! I won’t deny the fact that I felt truly alone while wearing the colostomy bag, because I felt no one understood what I was going through. My friend even sourced out a nun who was wearing it to speak too, but she was 78!! I felt at a different time of my life, because I was at the cusp of breaking through in all aspects of my career, and dressing was an important part of what I did, especially when I hosted or emceed. I continued for 6 weeks without finding another person about my age to talk to, but once I accepted that I would be wearing it for 6 weeks, I felt calmer, and at ease.
After 6 months, and on the way to recovery, I made a decision through loads of encouragement to write about it with no expectations. And, it is thanks to everyone from Malaysia, Singapore to the United States that shared my story and made it viral, that I was able to reach out to more than a million people on my social media. That was the end of January 2015 that I first shared my story, and in a timely manner too because it coincided with World cancer day on February 4th, which I didn’t know about till someone from the Singapore media contacted me to feature my story.
It was then that I realize how much people needed inspiration, and motivation especially those who have been touched by cancer in one form or another, be it as a patient, survivor, caretaker, or friends and family members who have it. That gave me an idea to start a project called #sharestrength to encourage people to share their stories especially if they are cancer patients or if they have been afflicted with illness, because they may never know how that ONE story can change a person’s life, like how my story have actually saved a couple of lives simply through the awareness to seek proper professional help.
Through #sharestrength, I’m very happy to share with you another big news in my life – I have been appointed the first youth ambassador for the National Cancer society of Malaysia, and I will be starting a youth cancer support group to tell all youths to not be afraid to share their story, or talk about it. This allows other people to not feel alone, and also a platform for everyone to support one another. Now, I am realizing my dream to help youths, what my 16 year old self has always wanted to do, not only raising awareness about cancer, but forming a support system in Malaysia for youths with cancer!!!
On top of that, I am also hosting, and shooting a series called ‘An Awakening’ supported by AXA Cancer Care that raises awareness as we have guests on the show who are young cancer patients, young cancer survivors, and caretakers. We are highlighting their story of how cancer impact their dreams, and their strength and hope to fight with cancer, and I myself have been inspired by each and everyone of them because they are so strong in this journey. With their stories, we hope to not only gain more awareness BUT also get people to understand that cancer doesn’t just take its toll physically, but financially, emotionally, and mentally!! So it is important to be prepared financially, emotionally and mentally, being prepared is half the battle won!
So, please help me by sharing THIS story, watch these amazing videos of these people, and SHARE their videos too as it is RM1 to the National cancer society of Malaysia (NCSM) for us to continue to share, and do good work through the NCSM Cancer Information system to help educate young people in Malaysia.
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