GEORGE TOWN: Growing up with cancer was challenging for Mohd Asif Shaik Safarudin but it made him resilient.
Last year, he was declared cancer-free and now, the 18-year-old is starting a new chapter in his life.
Tomorrow, the Penangite will be enrolling for the foundation in engineering and technology programme at the Multimedia University in Cyberjaya.
“I did not expect to get such an amazing opportunity.
“I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) when I was 10. Thank God, it was in the early stage, but it has not been smooth sailing.
“The first six months were hard, but I stood strong for my mother.
“I did not wish to see her cry, so I mustered the courage to fight my battle. Only God knew the pain I felt inside seeing my friends playing happily, while I was in the hospital,” he said in an interview at a Childhood Cancer Awareness Day event at the Penang Hospital.
Mohd Asif said he was unable to attend school in Year 4 and Year 5 and had to catch up on lessons to sit for the UPSR examination in which he scored 5As.
He said it was at this point that he felt weak and almost gave up hope.
But Mohd Asif, who studied at Penang Free School, said he channelled his energy towards staying active while undergoing treatment.
His determination paid off as he scored 8As in the PT3 examination.
“For me, l only worked hard to achieve this for my mum, because she deserves so much for taking care of me,” he said.
Mohd Asif was among three people who shared stories of their fight against cancer at the event organised by Tanjung Putri Lions Club and McDonald’s.
The others were Siti Nur Rabiatul Adawiah, 18, (brain cancer medulloblastoma survivor) and sales manager Mindy Loo May Lee, 38, who spoke on behalf of her 10-year-old son Isaac Chew (diagnosed with ALL).
State Agriculture, Agro-based Industries, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin, who launched the event, said in his speech that some were reluctant to undergo screening or chose to delay treatment because of the myths surrounding cancer.
“Cancer is the second highest cause of death among Malaysians after heart disease. Parents, with children suspected to have cancer, should have them screened immediately,” he said.
Also present were Penang Hospital deputy medical director Dr R. Premalosini, its Paediatric Department acting director Datuk Dr Rus Anida and Tanjung Putri Lions Club president Sylvia Ang.