A calling close to home

Caring for her sick grandfather ignited Ms Snow Lin's interest in healthcare. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Caring for her sick grandfather ignited Ms Snow Lin's interest in healthcare. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

The Straits Times meets three graduates from local polytechnics - Temasek, Nanyang and Ngee Ann - whose passions have been shaped by their circumstances and the influences of their loved ones.

It was seeing the fragility of her ill grandfather's body that ignited Ms Snow Lin's passion for research in healthcare and biomedical sciences.

For almost two years, she had to care for him round the clock, as he battled with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. But having little time to rest and study did not stop the recent Ngee Ann Polytechnic molecular biotechnology graduate from becoming the top scorer in her cohort.

"I was a mess. I couldn't focus in class after spending all night taking care of him," said the 19-year-old.

"But I realised how fragile the human body is when we are old. It was miraculous seeing my grandfather continuing to push on, despite organs failing."

Before he died last year, she had to study and rest in the spare time she could find.

"My mother really pushed me through this," said Ms Lin. "She had to cope with our finances and family, but she pressed on. From her attitude, I got the mindset that giving up was never an option."

Her friends and lecturers also helped, recording the audio of classes for her to listen to at home.


"I didn't specifically tell them what was going on, but they could see through it and helped me," said Ms Lin, whose resilience has seen her offered university placements and scholarships overseas and locally.

"I want to push the boundaries rather than accept what is currently available in the healthcare system.

"You can't save everyone, but no one is stopping you from continuously understanding life and the diseases we face," she added.

Jeanell Kiew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2019, with the headline 'A calling close to home'. Print Edition | Subscribe