Senior financial consultant Zoe Yap was diagnosed with Stage 3 rectal cancer when she was only 33. It had progressed to end-stage cancer by the time she was 36.
But that has not deterred the 40-year-old from taking part in a relay challenge organised by the Singapore Cancer Society.
The nine-day event – during which participants can walk, swim, run or cycle to collectively complete a 100km challenge anywhere in Singapore – kicked off on Saturday.
Ms Yap, who will walk her part of the challenge, said: “Participating in this event, I wish to inspire others to do our little part to give back to the cancer community.
“There are many out there impacted by cancer and need the encouragement and inclusivity. As a community at large, we can come together and provide that support and care.”
More than 4,000 people are participating in the fifth edition of the Singapore Cancer Society – TalkMed Relay For Life virtual challenge this year.
The event aims to celebrate the lives of cancer survivors and remember those lost to the disease. It has raised more than $1 million to date.
Besides the relay challenge, participants can also engage in creative activities that promote good health in mind and body over these nine days.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong flagged off the survivor’s lap of the event, where those who have been affected by cancer started the race to encourage others.
He also witnessed the presentation of a cheque for $250,000 by cancer care provider TalkMed Group to the Singapore Cancer Society.
Mr Gan said: “Every year, over 100,000 people benefit from these efforts. Cancer can impose a heavy burden on patients and their families, financially and emotionally. It is heartening to see the community come together to send the message that no one fights cancer alone.”
He noted that the society’s programmes and services have helped support beneficiaries in coping with the illness and improving their quality of life.
Outreach initiatives and public education programmes have also helped to promote cancer awareness and prevention, he added.
Another participant, business manager Cherrie Ho, was first diagnosed with uterine leiomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer, in 2019.
Ms Ho, 49, said she wanted to take part in the relay race to raise money for other patients and benefit others.
“I wish to encourage other cancer patients to be brave and be strong. I know it’s very challenging to deal with surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or any other kinds of cancer treatments. But we need to have faith that we can do it. We need to have a positive mindset even in a very difficult environment,” she said.