True love prevails for cancer patient

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 24 Sep 2017

Sun and moon: Chen and Kam at Gleneagles Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. Both of them have pledged to donate their bodies to science.

KUALA LUMPUR: Personal trainer Chen Shyang Ren, 30, has dreamt of exchanging vows with his true love, taekwondo exponent Kam Bao Juan, at Mount Bromo in Indonesia.

Never did he imagine he would have a wedding in under 24 hours, with fewer than 10 guests and only a brief moment with his beloved bride outdoors.

Kam, 27, appeared in a wedding dress and shoes at the Sept 20 wedding at the Thean Hou Temple here, although she was battling the big C.

The bride was diagnosed with Stage Four appendix cancer earlier this year, and the sudden discovery caught her and Chen off-guard.

Prior to this, they had to deal with the loss of Kam’s mother, who died of breast cancer in 2015, and Chen’s father, who also passed away around the same time.

Despite this latest devastating news, Chen and Kam remained strong as they shuttled to different hospitals for tests and treatment.

“It has been difficult for us but we always support each other. There are times where I feel down and he has to be positive.

“When I am the moon, he is the sun, and vice-versa,” said Kam cheerfully when met at the Gleneagles Hospital.

A biotechnology graduate from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Kam from Johor Baru met Chen at the university in 2010. Chen was a research assistant with the sport’s department.

Chen remembers being blown away by Kam’s strength and resilience when he helped train the black-belt taekwondo exponent for competitions.

“She was strong on the outside and inside as well. And even now, through the difficult times where I tend to get upset, it is her resilience that makes me want to fight again,” he said.

The initial plan to marry when Kam’s condition improved flew out the window last Tuesday when doctors informed Chen that Kam was in critical condition and he should prepare for the worst.

“And because of that, I immediately decided to go ahead with the wedding.

“Many people asked why I was doing this but I knew it was what I wanted and it would make her happy to be my wife,” said Chen.

The couple managed to obtain permission for Kam to leave the hospital for the wedding ceremony.

They only spent 30 minutes at the temple and hosted a brief lunch for guests before Kam was taken back to hospital.

However, she recalled the entire event with joy.

“It was the most perfect thing that happened to me. I had my husband, my close family and friends and the wedding was held outdoors, which I had hoped for all along,” said Kam.

Despite her condition, Kam insisted on contributing to society by signing up for the silent mentor programme together with Chen.

“We have pledged our body to be used for medical education, research and training after death, since as a cancer patient I cannot donate my organs.

“This is my way of giving back to society and to help medical experts. Maybe one day, they can find a cure that can benefit other people,” she said.

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