Hear My Story: Clement Choo, CCF Beneficiary and Childhood Cancer Survivor
Months before his 'O' level examinations in 2011, Clement started experiencing frequent fevers and fatigue. While the symptoms made him uncomfortable, it did not raise any alarms as he thought it was due to the stress from preparing his examinations. It was only when he started feeling extreme breathlessness from walking short distances that he realised something may be awry with his health.
A trip to the general practitioner led to a referral to National University Hospital (NUH). Even while at NUH, Clement and his family had hoped for the best. However, they suffered a rude shock when the doctors arrived at a diagnosis. He had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).
"We never expected it to be cancer. We were so confused and felt very loss back then," shared Clement.
Without any delay, Clement had to start intensive treatments to fight his ALL. This was very different from what he had envisioned as his post 'O' level celebrations. His 'party' now consisted of numerous blood tests, check-ups and treatments. It was a deep struggle for Clement who had his freedom taken away, something he valued a lot.
To make matters worse, Clement also struggled with temporal loss of physical mobility as he was too weak to move. For most parts of his hospitalisation, he could not be in the company of his family and friends as visitors were limited to reduce the introduction of contaminants in his ward.
At one of his lowest points, his classmates surprised him with a visit and handwritten cards filled with words of encouragement. The kind gesture touched him deeply as he remembered that he had a community to cheer him on and gave him the courage to face each new day.
His caregivers also received tremendous support from their community who stepped in to help where they could. For instance, Clement's father benefitted from work-from-home arrangements granted by his company, a practice that was uncommon back then.
Among the support they received, CCF played a critical role in preparing Clement and his family on what it entailed to care for a child with cancer.
Clement's parents picked up many tips on the medical and psychosocial aspects of Clement's condition through CCF's Time for a Caring Chat programme. During the sessions, they had the opportunity to hear from various healthcare professionals and clear any doubts. The platform also provided them an opportunity to connect with other CCF caregivers who could relate to their challenges.
When Clement finally conquered the battle against cancer a year and a half later, it truly felt like a second chance in life. As such, he spends most of his free time volunteering for various children-related causes, including CCF. He is committed to use it for the betterment of others, especially those who had to undergo the same ordeals as he did.
This year, he volunteers as a Hair for Hope ambassador by parting with his cherished locks and making his very first BALD statement.
"It is not an easy decision for me to shave bald but I choose to part with my hair to show children with cancer that I am with them and they are not alone," shared Clement.
Every BALD statement and donation counts towards cheering children and families impacted by cancer on in their battle against the life-threatening illness.
Make a donation in support of Clement's shaving today.