Monday, Oct 23rd

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 24 January 2015 17:52

Great Love from Patients to Flood Victims

Written by  Tan Kim Hion, KL & Selangor / Translated by Tan Heang Shin

Accompanied by TIMA team, members of Stroke Patients’ and Cancer Support Groups joined in the fundraising at 1 Utama Shopping Centre. [Photograph by Casy Lau Chun Nee]

A group of stroke and cancer patients were seen at 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Petaling Jaya, holding donation boxes and posters to solicit funds for flood victims. Some were on wheelchairs or feeling unwell, but together with Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) team, they had bowed low to the crowd hoping to inspire more kindness.


 
At the end of December 2014, eight Malaysian states were hit by severe flooding and more than 100,000 people were left homeless. Together with their counterparts from other branches, volunteers from Tzu Chi KL & Selangor embarked on a journey to the worst hit areas, Temerloh, in Pahang, for assessment and relief work.
 
From survey to home visits, care-giving, cash-for-work programme, free clinic, and distribution of Jing Si multi-purpose folding beds, eco-blankets and material aid, volunteers had been working round the clock to provide relief aid, which included visits to affected areas, clean-up of debris and comfort for grieving hearts.
 
When the cleaning of neighbourhood through cash-for-work came to an end on January 11, volunteers from KL & Selangor took to the streets, shopping malls, wet markets, night bazaars, parks, train stations, schools and so on, to raise funds for the victims from January 17 to 31.
 
Everyone had truly felt for the victims. Upon hearing about the donation drive, the stroke and cancer patients also wished to contribute their efforts. On January 24, a few of them joined the campaign organized by TIMA members at 1 Utama Shopping Centre in Petaling Jaya.
 
Derive happiness from helping others
 
“Please help the East Coast flood victims. They need your generous support. Kindly extend your loving-kindness!” 70-year-old wheelchair-bound Shi Qing Guo appealed to the general public with a donation box. Some stopped and put their donations into the box; some quickly avoided thinking that the patient was doing fundraising; while some looked on doubtfully...
 
Facing all kinds of people, Qing Guo kept smiling, while his wife was beaming cheerfully to the donors behind his wheelchair. Accompanying her husband for fundraising for the first time, Mrs Shi, a Taiwanese, felt deeply pleased seeing her husband so full of energy.
 
“I have not seen him so happy for a long time. Since he had stroke a year ago, he felt depressed for not being able to move freely and walk around,” said Mrs Shi dearly. She recalled her husband locking himself up alone in the bedroom; and she could also feel his agony.
 
Later, when she found out about the traditional Chinese medicine consultations at Tzu-Chi Free Clinic, she brought her husband for acupuncture treatment; and subsequently joined the Stroke Patients’ Support Group. She accompanied her husband every month for the gathering to share experiences, get advice from doctors and therapists, chit-chat with volunteers and so on. Before long, she noticed the gradual mood change in her husband.
 
After learning about the donation drive, Mrs Shi was surprised with Qing Guo’s willingness to participate, hence, she followed suit. Although his voice sounded hoarse after soliciting funds for the whole morning, he still carried a smile on his face.
 
“I feel great today, I am glad to be able to help. People, especially those of us sitting in a wheelchair, should step forward to help the affected ones, because we could feel their pain,” said Qing Guo. Thinking of how he has relied on his wife for his daily routine, he realized the need to be helped.
 
With their homes destroyed overnight, no electricity and water supply, no food and drinks and no bed and blanket to sleep on, the flood victims would definitely be in desperate need of assistance. Qing Guo stressed that one should not wait to do good.
 
At the mall, he kept appealing to the crowd even with a dry throat, and when donations are put into his box, he would brighten up. He also smilingly reminded volunteers, “Please remember to call me in future. I will certainly show up!” Qing Guo has realized his ability to help others despite his medical condition.
 
Include me when doing good deeds
 
“When I was working at a beauty and massage parlour in the past, as staff, we were asked to hand out leaflets in malls whenever the business was bad. I would feel embarrassed and afraid to give it to passers-by. But now, I do not feel uneasy at all about raising funds from the public,” declared cancer patient, Luo Yu Mei. Holding a donation box and wearing a woollen hat, she felt somewhat different soliciting funds from the bustling crowd.
 
Yu Mei used to be money-conscious when young and making money was her goal in life. However, when diagnosed with the last stage of cancer a year ago, she woke up to the fact that money is not everything. She said, “I thank God for this gift of cancer, as it had reminded me not to just rush forward but to pause and do good.”
 
Yu Mei disclosed that she did not succumb to cancer; she merely checked with the doctors on how much time she has left. When there was no definite answer, she chose to face it and undergo chemotherapy. However, when the pain became unbearable, she had contemplated suicide. It was during this difficult period that she encountered Tzu Chi and the Cancer Support Group. Through mutual encouragement, she survived those darkest days.
 
She was grateful to TIMA’s Pharmacist, Chan Lai Meng, for her companionship and translation during medical consultations as she could not understand Malay and English. She will always remember the friendship and kindness.
 
Hence, when she learnt about the donation drive at 1 Utama Shopping Centre organized by Lai Meng and other TIMA members, she was very supportive. She said, “I have received help. Now, I want to offer help. I do not want to be left out. Since I could not go to the disaster areas to clean up, this is the least I could do.”
 
Despite not having fully recovered from her chemotherapy treatment a month ago, and with her calves throbbing making her unable to stand for long, strangely enough, she managed to raise funds with the donation box for more than three hours, not feeling particularly tired or needing a rest.
 
She found it unbelievable, as she was still feeling unwell on the day before and had slept most of the time. At first, she feared she might not be able to cope, but, with the determination to help others, she turned up; and the kindness received during the fundraising had brushed aside her physical discomfort.
 
“Today is an extremely joyful day. It is also my first time soliciting funds, as well as, doing something kind for the victims for the first time. I feel awesome!” declared a happy Yu Mei. Lai Meng then thanked Yu Mei for her contribution which would surely be appreciated by the victims. In return, Yu Mei thanked Lai Meng for driving her to the venue so that she had the opportunity to contribute. The mutual gratitude had put a smile on both their faces.
 
 
Apart from TIMA members and patients, children had also tagged along with their mothers to inspire more kindness. When these cute little angels made an impassioned plea for donations with posters, many were deeply touched and cast their donations into the box. It is hoped that by inspiring kindness through donations, the victims could bounce back rapidly with the blessings from all.
 
 
Stroke patients (standing 2nd left and on wheelchairs) responded positively to the donation drive run by TIMA, and felt glad to be able to help. [Photograph by Casy Lau Chun Nee]
  Shi Qing Guo, aged 70, was unable to move freely due to stroke. But he seized the opportunity to raise funds for the flood victims together with his wife. [Photograph by Wong Poh Fatt]

Stroke patients (standing 2nd left and on wheelchairs) responded positively to the donation drive run by TIMA, and felt glad to be able to help. [Photograph by Casy Lau Chun Nee]
 
Shi Qing Guo, aged 70, was unable to move freely due to stroke. But he seized the opportunity to raise funds for the flood victims together with his wife. [Photograph by Wong Poh Fatt]
 
Luo Yu Mei (left) was grateful to TIMA’s Pharmacist, Chan Lai Meng’s companionship during her illness. She had joined the donation drive to send her love to the flood victims. [Photograph by Casy Lau Chun Nee]   Children also tagged along to contribute to the flood victims. [Photograph by Casy Lau Chun Nee]

Luo Yu Mei (left) was grateful to TIMA’s Pharmacist, Chan Lai Meng’s companionship during her illness. She had joined the donation drive to send her love to the flood victims. [Photograph by Casy Lau Chun Nee]
 
Children also tagged along to contribute to the flood victims. [Photograph by Casy Lau Chun Nee]