“He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.” – Lao Tzu
This is a happy weekend for most Americans as they celebrate United States of America’s 233 Independence Day on 4th July. Thus I want to wish them a Happy 233 Independence Day. From yesterday, I have been hesitating if I should make this post. Reading this now, you know the decision I have made.
4-years-old Charmaine Lim, the girl in the photo, loves singing, dancing and cuddling up to her mother. She is just like any other 4-years-old kids. Having a niece of age 5 and two nephews of age 3, Charmaine isn’t any different from them; especially on the part ‘cuddling up to her mother.’ My niece and nephews love that and they will even fight each other, just to sit on my sister’s lap. They are also learning a lesson, that they have to take turn and share or no one gets to sit on the lap. Do you notice any differences from your own 4-years-old there?
The only thing unlike most carefree 4-years-old, is that Charmaine has stage four cancer and is fighting for her life. She was diagnosed with stage four Neuroblastoma, high risk, a kind of cancer that occurs in infants and kids; high risk because the disease has spread to her bone marrow and bones.
Charmaine is undergoing treatment at the National University Hospital (NUH) of Singapore and she is undergoing the 5th rounds of chemotherapy. According to the newspaper report, “She no longer mixes freely with other kids in the playground or attends nursery school, because her lowered immunity puts her at high risk of falling ill.”
According to her medical report, “The current treatment will provide a survival chance of approximately 20%. However, as reported in a reference from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre (MSKCC), New York, with an addition of several doses of a drug 3F8 (on top of her current treatment) will provide a higher survival chance with report up to 40-50%.”
The only challenge is that an initial payment of USD $350,000 with additional payments needed prior to continuing on with treatments. How on Earth could a single mother ever hope to come up with that amount of money? Not to mention that she has to resign from her work this year to take care of Charmaine and to take care of Charmaine’s current bills.
She had thought about giving it up but being a mother, she mentioned, “should anything happen to Charmaine, I would never be able to forgive myself for not trying to fight for Charmaine when all she has to help her is me..” Should we be in her shoes, I strongly believe we would do anything to help Charmaine; as in the case of my father back in 2005-2006, we would do anything as long as it could help him fight against his cancer and improved his quality of life during that period.
Charmaine’s mother wrote in her site, “How do I convince anyone that Charmaine’s life is worth half a million dollars?” The answer is found in the question. Life itself is priceless; we cannot simply put a price tag to life.
There may be a fleeting thought in your mind right now, just as it had come into my mind, “how could we possibly hope to save everyone?” Remember the story of a boy picking starfishes and throwing them back to the sea? An old man ask the boy, “What can you do, there are so many starfishes stranded on the beach? What difference can you make?” The boy replied, “At least to this (referring to the one he holds in his hand), it makes a difference.” And the boy threw the starfish into the sea.
What we could do for Charmaine may not be a lot but it can definitely make a difference. For a 4-years-old girl, she is fighting bravely. From the newspaper, “Perhaps Charmaine’s fighting spirit is best seen when her mother talks about the ‘monster’ inside her. She always replies: ‘Yes, I will fight with the monster.‘”
If you want to make any donation and to send encouraging thoughts to Charmaine, you can go to: Our Feisty Princess. Thank you and wishing all be blessed with good health and happiness.
Photo from Feisty Princess Charmaine.
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