Compassionate spirit

She offers support to women and cancer patients

Ms Dincy Lim has won awards and nominations for her work with the menopause and colon cancer support groups. She was nominated for the Singapore Woman Award in 2009 and won the Healthcare Humanity Award in the Volunteer category last year.
Ms Dincy Lim has won awards and nominations for her work with the menopause and colon cancer support groups. She was nominated for the Singapore Woman Award in 2009 and won the Healthcare Humanity Award in the Volunteer category last year.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

It has been more than 20 years, but 84-year-old Dincy Lim still remembers the first menopause support group meeting she hosted.

All the women were avoiding eye contact. Nobody wanted to be the first to talk about their condition.

"Twenty years ago, nobody even thought about menopause," Ms Lim said. "It was something so intimate, so private, that nobody wanted to touch on the subject."

These days, it is a different story.

Encouraged by Ms Lim's warmth and friendliness, the support group sessions are now filled with frank sharing about how to cope with the symptoms of menopause.

Although all women go through menopause, some have it tougher: waking up at night covered in sweat from hot flashes or experiencing mood swings that leave them drained.

"Outwardly they may look happy (and) be smiling, but when the husband has gone to work and the children to school... they feel so sad and will cry," she explained.

As long as I am physically able and my mind is sharp and focused, I will just carry on. I have to let (the women) know that there is hope.

MS DINCY LIM, 84, who runs support groups to help people deal with menopause and colon cancer, on finding meaning in connecting with people and helping them see the silver lining despite their troubles.

The group sessions, which typically occur once a month and last at least three hours, often feature invited speakers. At times, the women practise kegel exercises that improve pelvic fitness to tackle menopausal effects like urinary incontinence.

Ms Lim was born in China and lived in Australia, Europe and the Middle East before she settled in Singapore in 1959. She married and had two children with a journalist, who died in 2009.

Ms Lim first set up the support group in 1996, at the request of a doctor at KK Women's and Children's Hospital who had been treating her for an unrelated issue.

During the sessions, she often hugs the women she works with, believing that body language can communicate volumes.

Putting herself in the shoes of a patient, she added: "If I can't connect with you, I won't reveal my concerns to you. This is the last thing I want patients to feel. Whoever visits me, I don't want her to feel she has visited me for nothing."

For the past 13 years, Ms Lim has also been running a colon cancer support group at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, splitting her time evenly between the two groups.

She has won awards and nominations for her work with both groups, such as being nominated for the Singapore Woman Award in 2009 and winning the Healthcare Humanity Award in the Volunteer category last year.

Helping others is something she wants to do as long as she is physically and mentally able, saying she finds meaning in connecting with people and helping them see the silver lining despite their troubles.

"I don't consider the years... as long as I am physically able and my mind is sharp and focused, I will just carry on," Ms Lim added.

"I have to let (the women) know that there is hope - despite all their complaints, there is hope."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'She offers support to women and cancer patients'. Print Edition | Subscribe