Join walk to show cancer patients they are not alone

Mr Wang, who lost a leg to cancer in 1999, will be taking part in Singapore's first Relay for Life event next month.
Mr Wang, who lost a leg to cancer in 1999, will be taking part in Singapore's first Relay for Life event next month.ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

Cancer survivor Ezzy Wang plans to walk at least 3km on his crutches at Bukit Gombak Stadium next month with his wife.

Mr Wang, 50, who lost a leg to cancer, will be taking part in Singapore's first Relay for Life event, in which participants walk or run together to show that no cancer patient goes it alone. They will show solidarity with and honour cancer survivors and their caregivers, while also raising funds and awareness.

The overnight relay, organised by the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS), aims to draw 9,000 participants. It will stretch over 17 hours from Feb 18 to the next day.

Relay for Life will include about 30 events such as a performance by singer Nathan Hartono, a silent disco and side activities for families.

Mr Wang, a training and competency manager, is looking forward to walking in the relay with his wife Fifi Siow, 52, who works in marketing. He said: "I think this is a good cause of creating awareness, of creating support for the caregivers, as well as letting... the public know cancer... is not a death sentence."

He speaks from experience. His right leg was fully amputated in 1999 due to a type of bone cancer known as chondrosarcoma.

Mr Wang was first treated for cancer in 1996 when his right pelvis was amputated, shortening his leg by about 15cm. That hit him hard.

"My tears just burst out, because I didn't accept what I was, and (that) I would be like that."

The recovery was hard, but when the cancer relapsed and he was told he would have to fully amputate his leg in 1999, he jumped at the chance to be rid of "the aliens in my body".

He then took up handcycling and competed in the 2010 Asian Para Games. He has also done challenging runs on his crutches, such as the Swissotel Vertical Marathon.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is a cancer survivor, showed his support for the relay in a video posted on the SCS Facebook page yesterday. Mr Lee, who had two brushes with the disease, said many have been touched by cancer. "We can all help one another by walking together."

Dr Tan Wu Meng, chairman of Relay for Life's organising committee, said: "No one has to fight cancer alone, and that's one key message which we hope to push."

Online registration closes on Jan 23, but people can register on-site at the event. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2017, with the headline 'Join walk to show cancer patients they are not alone'. Print Edition | Subscribe