A wish come true for boy who beat cancer

Zahaan Tambawala meeting Poppy, a customised robot, yesterday. He also tried on artificial skin (right) designed for robots. The aspiring "robot builder", who had been battling cancer, celebrated his one-year anniversary of defeating the disease with
Zahaan Tambawala meeting Poppy, a customised robot, yesterday. He also tried on artificial skin (above) designed for robots. The aspiring "robot builder", who had been battling cancer, celebrated his one-year anniversary of defeating the disease with a robot-themed day.PHOTO: LEE JIA WEN FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES
Zahaan Tambawala meeting Poppy, a customised robot, yesterday. He also tried on artificial skin (right) designed for robots. The aspiring "robot builder", who had been battling cancer, celebrated his one-year anniversary of defeating the disease with
Zahaan Tambawala meeting Poppy, a customised robot, yesterday. He also tried on artificial skin designed for robots. The aspiring "robot builder", who had been battling cancer, celebrated his one-year anniversary of defeating the disease with a robot-themed day.PHOTO: LEE JIA WEN FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

Exactly a year after completing cancer treatment, eight-year-old science fan Zahaan Tambawala got the treat of his life yesterday when he got up close and personal with state-of-the art robots at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

The aspiring "robot builder" was diagnosed with brain tumour at the age of six after he complained of severe headaches and vomiting.

He battled cancer for the next nine months with great determination and triumphed.

Zahaan celebrated his one-year anniversary of defeating the disease with a full day of robot-themed activities yesterday.

His day started with a tour of a robotics laboratory at the Institute for Media Innovation at NTU, where he got to interact with robotic creations.

This was followed by a Lego game session with his classmates before the day ended with a robot-building class at the United World College of South East Asia.

O HAPPY DAY

My day was good, brilliant, amazing and marvellous. My wish came true through Make-A-Wish.

SCIENCE FAN ZAHAAN TAMBAWALA, who had a close and personal encounter with state-of-the art robots at Nanyang Technological University.


UNIQUE EXPERIENCE

He's really had a one-of-a-kind experience, experiencing things that he would never have experienced otherwise... and it spurred his curiosity.

MRS KARISHMA TAMBAWALA, on the activities organised by the Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore.

The activities were organised by the Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore, which helps children who have life-threatening medical conditions.

Zahaan had a blast, said his mother Karishma Tambawala. "He's really had a one-of-a-kind experience, experiencing things that he would never have experienced otherwise... and it spurred his curiosity," the 37-year-old housewife added.

The celebration came at just the right time, she said, as Zahaan has had a challenging time adjusting after resuming full-time studies at international school Tanglin Trust School in August.

"He's just realising the differences between other kids and himself... like he can't write as fast, or is not as strong," said Mrs Tambawala.

But the day's activities have made him feel especially treasured and loved, she said, and would help boost his confidence.

Zahaan had no doubts about how his special anniversary went. "My day was good, brilliant, amazing and marvellous. My wish came true through Make-A-Wish."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 07, 2018, with the headline 'A wish come true for boy who beat cancer'. Print Edition | Subscribe