Mum 'lives each day as it comes'

MADAM Tay Et has no big wish for Mother's Day this Sunday.

"I'm just living each day as it comes," she said.

Her son, Mr Kevin Lee, suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a severe form of the debilitating muscle disease, and she is his caregiver.

He was diagnosed with it when he was 10 years old. Sufferers typically do not live past their 20s. Mr Lee will turn 25 in July.

Three years ago, The Straits Times documented how Madam Tay looks after him.

"The doctor told me that he will live longer if there is good care for him," she said last week when we revisited them.

She spends most of her time tending to his needs, such as washing and feeding him. "His condition is stable, but he is still weak and seldom goes out now."

Madam Tay, 55, who is married to a 55-year-old salesman and also has a 19-year-old daughter who will be entering university soon, is thankful for the help she gets from people around her.

For the past year, for example, vendors from the market have been delivering her purchases to her doorstep so she does not have to leave her son's side.

After the Straits Times report in 2010, the public donated about $20,000 to the family. Most of it went into buying a new hospital bed, a motorised wheelchair and machines to help him breathe. Although exhausted from the round-the-clock care for him, she remains cheerful.

"I call my son lao ban (Mandarin for boss) because I'm at his beck and call every day."

deslim@sph.com.sg