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ST 12 Days of Christmas Surprises: Day 4 winner hopes gift can make son smile

Published on Dec 16, 2013 11:52 AM
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Kaiser and his father are the Day 4 winners of The Straits Times 12 Days of Christmas Surprises contest, walking away with a pair of Beats Studio 2.0 headphones. -- ST GRAPHIC

The year 2011 was a difficult time for young Kaiser Hanafi.

When his then-four-year-old sister, Sofia, was diagnosed with brain cancer, he went on frequent visits to the hospital and was used to worried looks on his parents' faces.

When Sofia finally succumbed to the disease in October last year, the boy started to "behave differently" even though he was unable to express himself in words, said his father Hanafi Mohammad.

Kaiser, now four, and his father are the Day 4 winners of The Straits Times 12 Days of Christmas Surprises contest, walking away with a pair of Beats Studio 2.0 headphones.

After Sofia was diagnosed with the cancer, Mr Hanafi and his wife were afraid that their young son might feel neglected.

"We were constantly in and out of the hospital and focusing on our daughter during her treatment," said Mr Hanafi, 34, a customer care executive.

Contact between the siblings was also minimised to prevent Sofia from catching infections, and Kaiser would often ask why he could not see his sister.

The siblings, who always watched children's programmes like Hi-5 together, were close-knit, said Mr Hanafi.

Sofia died despite undergoing oral chemotherapy, radiation therapy and seven surgeries.

"Kaiser was too young to know that his sister had passed on," said Mr Hanafi, 34. "But after she died, he behaved differently and his eating habits were affected."

In an effort to coax a smile from Kaiser, Mr Hanafi joined the ST Christmas contest, hoping "a gift will definitely make him give us a big smile again".

Part of The Straits Times Appreciates Readers (Star) series to reach out to readers and the community, ST, together with our presenting partner, Standard Chartered, is offering one mystery gift to one reader a day until Dec 24.

Tech gadgets and household appliances worth $6,000 in total will be given out. So far, a MacBook Air laptop, a Philips Avance Juicer and an LG Smart TV have been won.

To take part, just tell us in not more than 40 words: "Why my loved one or I deserve to get a gift from The Straits Times".

E-mail your entry to stxmas@sph.com.sg and include your full name, NRIC number and cellphone number. The contest is open until noon on Dec 23.

To check out other readers' entries, please go to www.straitstimes.com/st-christmas-2013