Sunday January 20, 2013
Foundation a link of hope for cancer patients
By QISHIN TARIQ
PETALING JAYA: While volunteering may make some people feel good about themselves, for Bibee Mengadin, it “gave back” her life.
When Bibee, a volunteer with Cancerlink Foundation, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, she was consumed with anger and self-pity until the day she met the chairman, Joanne Fernandez.
“As she counselled me, I slowly got over my anger and this improved my quality of life. They also gave me guidance on where and who to seek help from.
“Over time, it became easier for me to help others. It's easier for them (patients) to connect with me because I've had cancer, too.
“I want to make sure that other people don't go through the same things I did not knowing what to do or where to get help from,” said Bibee, who joined the foundation as a full-time volunteer upon her recovery.
Seeing the smiles on the faces of the people she counselled, she said, was enough to motivate her to continue volunteering.
Swimming instructor Daniel Goh said he and his family started volunteering with Cancerlink in 2008 after he was approached by the foundation to give swimming lessons to patients.
“At first, we were worried that they would be too weak. But we were really surprised to see how energetic and enthusiastic they are,” said Goh.
Foundation patron Toh Puan Dr Aishah Ong said the volunteers' “donation” of time and effort meant so much more than monetary contributions.
“It's your efforts that bring smiles to the kids,” she said during the third biennial Cancerlink Examplar Volunteer Award celebration on Friday.
Founded in 1986, Cancerlink provides various forms of support to cancer patients and their caretakers as well as raises awareness on the disease through talks and activities.