8-year-old cancer survivor pens and illustrates first book

Andrzej Goh wrote The Villain In Me to tell his story. ST PHOTO: ZHANG XUAN

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - When asked to think of a villain, many children will name Thanos from the Avengers movies, but for little Andrzej Goh, cancer is the bad guy.

Andrzej, eight, had to fight for his life in May last year when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of cancer that attacks the body's immune system.

The spunky cancer survivor penned his experience in The Villain In Me, published by the Artistic Strategies Academy (ASA) two weeks ago.

The 10-page picture book, which took Andrzej three weeks to write and draw, describes his battle against Red Ron, a cancer villain named after his six-year-old brother's toy.

The book also features the warriors who helped him in hospital, as well as the love and care of family members who stood by him as he emerged triumphant in the battle.

Andrzej's five-month battle against cancer had not been easy. After two failed attempts to resuscitate Andrzej when he suddenly fainted one night, a doctor at the National University Hospital's accident and emergency department managed to revive him.

Doctors there discovered that Andrzej's left lung had collapsed. On further testing, Andrzej was discovered to have lymphoma.

The news came as a shock to his mother, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Goh. She said he had been very active before the incident.

Doctors started chemotherapy immediately, but he responded to the treatment only after two days.

Mrs Goh said: "He was very weak initially, but after three months, he started getting stronger."

Andrzej was declared cancer-free in September last year, and completed his treatment in April this year.

Ms Claudine Fernandez, founder of the ASA, said: "I hope that more children like Andrzej will come forward to tell their stories of courage and fortitude, because these will inspire not just other children, but adults as well."

The Villain In Me can be purchased from the ASA for $18, including local shipping. All proceeds will go to the Children's Cancer Foundation.

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