She overcomes two brain haemorrhages to graduate from NTU

Miss Felicia Lim with her parents, Mr Lim Bon Kee and Madam Noreen Chia, at her graduation ceremony in Nanyang Technological University on Tuesday.
Miss Felicia Lim with her parents, Mr Lim Bon Kee and Madam Noreen Chia, at her graduation ceremony in Nanyang Technological University on Tuesday.PHOTO: NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY

She was two months from graduating when two brain haemorrhages put her hopes of getting a degree in jeopardy.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) student Felicia Lim was at home one day in April 2017 when she realised she was unable to move her left arm.

Her father rushed her to Changi General Hospital, where a brain scan showed she had bleeding in the brain due to arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins that disrupts normal blood flow and oxygen.

Her family was told that this was a condition she had since birth, but they had not known about it as she had no symptoms earlier.

Miss Lim, 25, said: "Apparently it was just a matter of time (before I had a brain haemorrhage)."

A second brain haemorrhage occurred just before her scheduled surgery at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and she was rushed into emergency surgery.

While it was successful, Miss Lim awoke to find that she was unable to move her left leg.

 

Thankfully, her cognitive functions and memory were not lost, although she had to undergo intensive therapy to regain her mobility.

Miss Lim returned to NTU to finish her final semester in August last year, after missing school for a year.

She now has physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions two times a week and requires a foot support and elbow crutch to help her move better.

"Although I was a bit disappointed that my peers were graduating without me, this was a blessing in disguise. I realised that life is really fragile and am thankful for this second chance at life," she said.

GRATITUDE

Although I was a bit disappointed that my peers were graduating without me, this was a blessing in disguise. I realised that life is really fragile and am thankful for this second chance at life.

MISS FELICIA LIM, a brain haemorrhage survivor, on graduating a year later than her friends.

She graduated from NTU on Tuesday with a bachelor's degree in information engineering and media.

She is currently getting job support from SPD - a charity that helps those with disabilities integrate into mainstream society - and hopes to start a career in the healthcare or social service sector.

At the university's first convocation ceremony of the year, held at the NTU campus on Tuesday, Miss Lim was one of 272 graduates out of a cohort of more than 9,000 who received their degrees.

Another 19 ceremonies will be held until next Tuesday.

Altogether, 6,097 graduates will be receiving bachelor's degrees and 3,356 will get higher degrees.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2019, with the headline 'She overcomes two brain haemorrhages to graduate from NTU'. Subscribe