Heart-warming and inspiring stories of past race participants from Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer (RAC) who are impacted by cancer and how they overcame their challenge. Read and be encouraged!
2 days before her tenth wedding anniversary in October 2012, Sally was diagnosed with stage 3 nasopharyngeal carcinoma after discovering a lump on the right side of her neck. She underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy but as a side-effect of treatment, ulcers formed in her mouth and throat, which made eating unbearable. Over the next 2 months, Sally gradually lost 12kg.
Although she recovered from this ordeal and is now cancer free, this experience taught Sally to never take anything in life for granted. Before her cancer diagnosis, Sally was a workaholic and spent much of her time establishing her reputation as an art consultant in hospitality design. She prioritized her work over her loved ones.
Cancer helped her to shift her focus and see what truly mattered in life. After her cancer diagnosis, Sally experienced an outpouring of love and encouragement from her family, especially her husband Raemond, who was her main caregiver. Her illness also allowed her to grow closer to her mother and brother, breaking the invisible barrier which once prevented them from communicating lovingly. Reflecting upon the past, Sally affirms, “no amount of money can ever buy relationships like these.”
She continues to embrace a never-give-up attitude and wants to be an inspiration to others. Sally has signed up as an SCS Charity Athlete this year and will be running Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer (RAC) 2015. She’ll also be rallying support from her family and friends, and at the same time, raising awareness about cancer.
To those battling cancer, she declares, “never give up, because when there’s hope, you have already won half the battle. A cancer diagnosis is not the end of the world.”
Donate to Sally’s fundraising page, as she raise funds towards Singapore Cancer Society at
- Sally Lim, 35
Meet Deborah Roques, a 29 year old French woman who’s participating in Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer (RAC) for the first time. Having arrived in Singapore in 2011, she’s no stranger to distance running, having completed 10km, 15km, and 21km races in Singapore and around Asia.
2015 started off positively for her but quickly took a turn when she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer 5 days into the new year. The news came as a shock. She acted quickly and underwent a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. It’s been a challenge coping with the physical and emotional impact of cancer but her family and friends have been a tremendous source of support. She shares, “the difficulty I am facing today is I don’t know what my future will be. I am scared of a relapse. I am scared of dying of cancer one day. This is the question I am struggling with: how my life post-cancer will be? I do not yet have the answer. But I try to overcome it by taking this journey step by step, one day at a time.”
Even though Deborah is still undergoing chemotherapy and has surgery scheduled in August, followed by radiotherapy, she aims to cross the finishing line of the RAC 10km route on 13 Sep with her friends from all over. So far, she’s rallied 15-20 of her mates from all over to run RAC with her. She enthused, “Cancer doesn’t define me. I was a runner before cancer, I am still a runner now.” Deborah’s also dedicating her run to 2 of her friends, Sophie, who fought breast cancer years ago, and Romain, who’s fighting thyroid cancer now.
To prepare for RAC, Deborah is continuing her training regimen of yoga and running: she now runs about 5km, 2 to 3 times a week. She’s definitely driven. “I’m taking part in this race for me and all other patients struggling with this disease. I won’t let cancer get the lead on me, and I want everybody to know that.”
- Deborah Roques, 29
Jessica Too is one tough lady. Stubborn and strong-willed, she is determined not to let cancer prevent her from doing what she loves. 5 years ago, Jessica was an active runner who trained at least thrice a week and participated in 2 marathons a year. Her breast cancer diagnosis disrupted all that but she is bouncing back this year and will be competing in the 10km run at the Race Against Cancer 2015. She beams, “I want to inspire others and show that life can go on after cancer!”
5 years ago, through a regular health screening, Jessica was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 38. For 9 months, she underwent a string of treatments, which included lumpectomy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.
But while cancer is energy-sapping, love is energy-giving.
During her recovery period, she grew to accept her post-cancer reality and found much needed strength and encouragement in her husband and 2 young boys who cared for her, such as doing the household chores or accompanying her for treatment. They gave her strength and hope to press on.
She also found support from the monthly meet ups with the SCS Reach to Recovery support group. Here, she found a close group of like-minded women who shared their struggles about coping with life after treatment. Jessica recently stepped forward as the chairperson of SCS Reach to Recovery, where she hopes to pay it forward by creating a safe community for all patients and survivors to share their struggles.
“I want to inspire and encourage more cancer patients and survivors to think positively and to live an active and fulfilling life, a life of no regrets.."
- Jessica Too, 43
2015 will be the fourth year in a row that Jie Ying will be running Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer (RAC). She ran her first race in 2012 about a year after she was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 23. Her diagnosis came as a shock. Jie Ying had just graduated from university and was about to begin her career as a journalist. She did not expect to get cancer.
As she underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Jie Ying searched for a cancer support group to join and was led to the Singapore Cancer Society’s webpage and an ad for RAC. Even though she felt weak, Jie Ying was given the all clear from her doctor to sign up and train for RAC. In fact, the exercise energised her. That year, Jie Ying ran to celebrate the life of her friend Linda, a fellow lymphoma cancer patient, who passed away in 2011.
Jie Ying has run RAC every year since. This year, she is running with her boyfriend and trains twice a week. For her, RAC is not just a run but an opportunity to train and celebrate life with those who cared for her when she was sick. She also runs to remind people to get themselves screened, “I want to raise awareness about young cancer patients. Many people think that you only get cancer when you are older but I am a living example of a young cancer patient.”
“To all cancer patients out there, don’t give up! We will not give up during the race as well! And to all runners of RAC, a big thanks! Your participation in Race Against Cancer is a huge support to all cancer patients.”
- Jie Ying, 27
Joseph Lee started exercising and running about 2 years ago when a good friend of his passed away from cancer at the age of 55. It was a wake-up call. The exercise helped to improve his health and he soon got his 2 kids, Ryan and Clarice, to join him. The 3 of them later signed up to run the 5km Fun Run in the Race Against Cancer in 2013 after Joseph researched to participate in runs with a cause.
Ryan recalls, “My first 5km Fun Run at Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer (RAC) 2013 was the longest distance I had run in my life. I had a lot of fun soaking in the atmosphere. It’s more meaningful than those private runs as we ran with the cancer cause in mind. The previous run 2 years ago was fun and we wanted to bond as a family. This year, we’re running RAC again. My mum is participating as well, she didn’t have the stamina 2 years ago.”
The Lee household is training for this every weekend by running around Jurong Lake whenever they can. Ryan hopes that his family’s run will in some way benefit those affected by cancer. His dad agrees, “I want to raise awareness and funds, spread the message across to as many people as possible, starting from my family. My wife also tells others that our family is running RAC to raise awareness about the cancer cause.”
- Ryan Lee, 17
A Run That Lies Close to His Heart
This year will be 30 year old Marcus Chan’s fourth year running the Race Against Cancer. He ran his first race in 2011 to show support and solidarity for all cancer patients as well as his girlfriend, who was a beneficiary of SCS at the time. Over the years, he’s glad to see that more people are becoming educated and empowered to seek early detection to minimise cancer and maximise life. Prevention is better than cure. This is a cause that lies close to his heart.
“Being diagnosed with cancer is not an easy thing. There is a need for family members and caregivers to give support. Words of encouragement and being physically present are what cancer patients need the most.”
By running Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer (RAC), Marcus hopes to raise awareness about cancer among his family and friends. He’s also encouraging his friends to run with him. Marcus is dedicating his run this year to his girlfriend whom he deeply misses but will always have a place in his heart.
“I run this event in memory of my girlfriend. She was a believer, a strong fighter. Despite the pain she went through, her sheer determination saw her through her treatments. Her fighting spirit and strong belief towards living every moment fruitfully made me very proud of her.”
- Marcus Chan, 30
Running in Solidarity with her Sister
3 years ago, May’s sister was diagnosed with Stage 3 stomach cancer. As part of her treatment, she had her whole stomach removed. This period of treatment and recovery was a difficult time for the whole family. This spurred May, an avid runner, to join the Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer (RAC) in 2013 to raise awareness and funds to help others who have cancer.
This year, May is running the RAC once again and is dedicating her run to her sister, who has recently relapsed with cancer and had her ovaries and uterus removed to prevent the further spread of the disease; she faces chemotherapy in the coming weeks and months as part of her treatment. As a visible show of support to her sister and to highlight the realities of cancer, May will be running the RAC 2015 in September and hopes that her sister will recover by then.
“I have a loved one who is suffering from cancer and I feel the pain and anxiety that cancer patients feel during diagnosis and treatment,” May shared. From a runner’s perspective, “There are so many different runs in Singapore but I have become more selective in which runs I participate in. Charity runs like the SCS Race Against Cancer gives me the opportunity to raise awareness and encourage my friends and colleagues to sign up or make a donation.”
The cancer cause lies close to May’s heart. By running the RAC 2015, May wants to “show support and solidarity for cancer patients and their caregivers. They are not alone, we are fighting cancer together with them!”
Singapore Cancer Society stands in solidarity with May and her sister, as well as with others like them who are impacted by the disease. Let us begin running together in this race to save lives!
- Poh May Chen
Running with a Heart – Racing to Raise Cancer Awareness
One person can make a difference. I firmly believe that everyone has a part to play in this battle, and that together, we can impact lives and make that difference. I’m running at the Race Against Cancer 2015 for a cause – to raise awareness of this disease, and also to raise funds to support Singapore Cancer Society in the fight against cancer. This is just a small part that I can play to help underprivileged patients and their families who have been affected by cancer.
My family and I experienced great anxiety when my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a painful journey for all of us as she underwent her medical treatment and chemotherapy, but with the love, motivation and care from her friends and family, she managed to pull through and conquered the disease.
Until there is a cure for cancer, these brave patients need all the help and support from you and me. That is why I choose the Singapore Cancer Society as my beneficiary. Run along with me, in making your steps count for those in the cancer journey.
Donate to this cause at:
- Eugene Aw, Charity Athlete
Have a story to share?
It is our belief that no one should fight cancer alone, and we are looking to collect stories from people who have been impacted by cancer, whether as a caregiver, patient, survivor, or family member. Share with us about yourself, and send us your story of how you have been personally impacted, your personal thoughts and experiences in this journey. Were there any quotes or people that inspired you?
We would love to hear your story which we can help to encourage others who are also in this journey.
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