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1600 for 1600

My encounter with cancer started at a young age. In 2004, my first uncle passed away from cancer. He was one of the kindest person I know, and I've always looked forward to seeing him during Lunar New Year and other family gatherings. When he was diagnosed with cancer, I saw how it consumed him and reduced his ever-present smile into a mere shadow. I remember very clearly the sight of him slouching on his sofa, his face twisted in obvious pain. Whenever I greeted him while visiting, his face would immediately relax and flash his signature smile, as if telling me that he was all right, before contorting back into that same pained expression. As a 13-year-old, I was petrified by the idea of an illness that was capable of extinguishing the fire of someone so quickly, and so thoroughly.

Then on February 25th, 2006, my mother passed away from ovarian cancer after a year-long battle. She is one of the fiercest women I know, someone who took the cards that Life dealt her and really played the best game she could. I'm reminded constantly of her tenacity and her ability to strive despite all the challenges that she had faced in her short 54 years on Earth. In that year after her initial diagnosis, I never saw her back down despite the dismal prognosis and terrible side-effects from her chemotherapy. She was a fighter till the very end.

On February 8th, 2019, I'll embark on my three-week journey across the South Island of New Zealand. Starting at Picton, I will be cycling down to Bluff, the southernmost tip of the South Island, before looping back to Queenstown (No, not the one in Singapore), totalling about 1600km. On some days, I will be climbing approximately 1000 vertical meters (or 6 times the elevation of Bukit Timah), before descending down nearly all of it. I’ll see sights that my mother never saw, and visit places she has never been.

Some wounds never heal, and some memories never fade. Just before my mother passed away, I promised her that I would try to live my life to the fullest and do her proud. To be kind to people as she was, and to breathe in life and live it to the fullest because she couldn’t. Cancer affects not just the patient, but everyone around him or her too.

Globally, an estimated 90 million people [1] have some form of cancer. That's a lot of families that have had to live with the illness and all that it entails. In Singapore, the number of new cancer cases per year has been increasing since 2011 to 2015 [2]. With rising costs, more and more people will require help in their fight against cancer. Together, I hope we can raise enough money to help out the grief-stricken families so that they can focus on taking care of their loved ones. Every bit, no matter how little, would help. Thank you!

Donate here! (Photo by Liu Ying)