A weekend to celebrate cancer survivors

Corporate banker Daphne Tan was diagnosed with an early stage but aggressive breast cancer in 2016, but has since been given the all-clear.
Corporate banker Daphne Tan was diagnosed with an early stage but aggressive breast cancer in 2016, but has since been given the all-clear.PHOTO: DAPHNE TAN

SINGAPORE - When Ms Daphne Tan was just three, her mother lost her fight against breast cancer.

So when she was also diagnosed with an early stage but aggressive breast cancer during a routine scan in 2016, the corporate banker was dejected.

"When the doctor broke the news, I was very sad. I thought about what would happen to my family," said the 39-year-old, who has a four-year-old daughter. "I didn't want history to repeat. So I told myself to fight on, so I can grow old with my daughter and be present for the different milestones in life."

As part of the cancer survivorship celebratory weekend, Ms Tan will share about her experience on Sunday (June 9) at an event held at Our Tampines Hub, where there will also be health talks and sharing sessions.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, a charity rowing event was held at Marina Bay to raise funds in aid of cancer survivors.

Both community events are part of the National Cancer Centre Singapore's (NCCS) efforts to celebrate and empower cancer survivors, who may face challenges such as employment problems and psychological struggles even after the completion of treatment.

Ms Tan, who underwent surgery and chemotherapy, has since been given the all-clear and has returned to work. However, she also has to care for her father, who was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago but is responding well to treatment.

"It is important to share my story," she said. "By sharing, I can motivate those who are going through the same thing. I've gone through it, so I know how they feel."

 

On Saturday, cancer survivors and doctors joined alumni from the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Singapore in a charity rowing event. Fund raised from the Row for Hope 2019 Boat Races will go towards the NCCS Cancer Fund, which provides financial help to needy patients and improvements in equipment to enhance patient care, among other things.

NCCS medical director William Hwang likened rowing to battling cancer, where strength and perseverance, among other attributes, are needed.

"That's what fighting cancer and surviving it is about," he said. "We should embrace this spirit as we work together towards making more cancer survivors in future."