In death, ex-teacher continues to 'educate'

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 22 Feb 2014

In loving memory: Subramaniam looking at some of his wife’s pictures at the family residence in Petaling Jaya.

PETALING JAYA: Former teacher S. Kamakshi fought leukaemia determinedly for 22 years, and when cancer took her life, she carried on fighting the disease – her body has been donated to medical research.

She drew her last breath yesterday. She was 66.

A post-mortem will be done at Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) to see how the drugs had affected her organs. The report will be sent to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

Her husband, H. Subramaniam, 70, said she had joined clinical trials for new drugs at SGH since 2000 to help find a drug that worked.

“The first time she went for a trial, she was asked why she was volunteering to be a guinea pig for unknown drugs.

“To that, she said ‘if patients do not volunteer, how will the future generation benefit from new drugs?’” he said when met at the family residence yesterday.

Kamakshi was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 1992, and later with Parkinson’s disease – a chronic motor degenerative disorder – in 2007.

However, Subramaniam, a sub-editor with The Star Online, said his wife remained a “very warm-hearted person” and was strong throughout her suffering.

Kamakshi taught English for almost 30 years at two secondary schools in the Klang Valley, retiring in 2005 as a senior English teacher at SMK (L) Bukit Bintang.

A trained Carnatic vocalist and bharatanatyam dancer, she has also performed on stage and in television shows.

Subramaniam thanked both SGH and UMMC for their “exemplary service”.

“It has been a long journey for both of us, and I am grateful for everyone’s support and well-wishes,” he said.

The Star executive editor Soo Ewe Jin, himself a cancer survivor, described Kamakshi as an extraordinary person who overcame tremendous odds.

“Despite her many trials, she always remained hopeful and cheerful. She was always concerned about my health as well. I have lost a very dear friend,” he said.

Kamakshi’s funeral will be held at the family residence at No 4 Lorong 12/10A, Section 12 Petaling Jaya at about 4pm today.

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