Be sensitive when showing support

I appreciate Mr Hoe Li En's candid opinion of the head-shaving event organised by the Children's Cancer Foundation (Shaving head for Hair For Hope has little meaning; Aug 5).

Singaporeans will respond spontaneously to a worthy cause if they know that their contributions can make a difference to the disadvantaged and needy.

Many people have supported, and will continue to support, the good work of the Children's Cancer Foundation not because of the head-shaving act, but rather because they have a genuine desire to help the cancer patients.

While some people shave their heads to raise awareness of the plight of cancer patients, others treat the act as a fun event as they want to see how they themselves look being totally bald.

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But being in a celebratory mood and laughing loudly while taking part in the Hair For Hope event can be viewed as being insensitive to the feelings of the young patients and their loved ones.

What these children need are people who can empathise with what they are going through, and this requires engaging them personally on a regular basis.

Establishing a closer rapport with these children will go a long way towards giving them a sense of hope and confidence.Through such personal engagement, supporters can find out if they can do more for these patients other than shaving their heads.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2017, with the headline 'Be sensitive when showing support'. Print Edition | Subscribe