Brain tumour patients enjoy ride in supercars

Nine-year-old Javier, along with 29 other beneficiaries, got a 30-minute tour of Marina Bay and Orchard Road in a Lamborghini.
Nine-year-old Javier, along with 29 other beneficiaries, got a 30-minute tour of Marina Bay and Orchard Road in a Lamborghini.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Not many Primary 3 pupils get the opportunity to ride down Orchard Road in a Lamborghini, but Javier Lim did just that yesterday.

With 29 other beneficiaries, the nine-year-old set off from the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday for a 30-minute tour of Marina Bay and Orchard Road.

Looking at Javier, beaming away as he took the ride of his life, one would not suspect that he has had five brain tumours in the last three years. He was just a few months shy of his sixth birthday when doctors discovered two tumours in his brain.

His mother Sharon Ng, 35, said: "We wondered, how could such a healthy boy have such things in his head?"

Javier has since had multiple operations to remove the tumours, but they grow back every time after they are removed. His next surgery is scheduled for Thursday.

These operations cost more than $100,000, most of which was covered by insurance, said Ms Ng, an assistant teacher.

She said Javier screamed through the night after his initial surgery as a result of pain, which subsided only after he was given morphine.

Javier is one of the beneficiaries of the Brain Tumour Society (Singapore), which helps brain tumour patients and their caregivers here. Through its welfare grant, the society helps needy beneficiaries offset some expenses, including those for rehabilitation and medical aids.

The society, which started in 2014, counts among its members 75 brain tumour patients, of whom 35 are children.

Founder Melissa Lim, 51, said: "While the children have it bad, the parents go through a lot emotionally. It's very heartbreaking to see your children go through such things."

The human resource consultant had herself undergone a 16-hour operation in 2004 to remove a brain tumour, just five years after losing her mother to brain cancer.

Next year, the society hopes to start a registry of brain tumour patients, which Ms Lim said will help to provide an idea of the prevalence of brain tumours here.

Yesterday's event was supported by the Lamborghini Club Singapore and marked the third Brain Tumour Awareness Day. It raised more than $100,000 in support of the society's programmes.

The event was attended by Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary, who flagged off the Lamborghinis.

Zhaki Abdullah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2016, with the headline 'Brain tumour patients enjoy ride in supercars'. Print Edition | Subscribe