One look at this woman, who has short spiky red hair, bubbly and full of life, you wouldn’t be expecting she has once suffered so much.
A single strong-faith woman who lives on her own, with only a brother here and the rest of her family overseas, Kate is the epitome of an independent woman.
She developed stage one cancer at the age of 60, which has changed her outlook on life ever since. A self-confessed workaholic, she hardly had time for herself when she was then a school principal. At the onset of cancer, it was a ‘wake-up call’ for her and she threw everything into God’s hands and believed that he had plans for her and ‘everything happened for a reason’. Realizing that health was much more important than career and money, she quitted her job as a school principal and put an end to her stressful life.
The most difficult part of chemotherapy was losing her hair. “I am very vain! So it was difficult to part with my hair”, she exclaimed.
Despite going through so much, she still formed a positive outlook of life. Joining BCF and SGH support group she met the other members who gave her hope and support and now they are extremely bonded ‘like a closed knitted family’! She used to lead an unhealthy lifestyle, but after the experience, she changed to become an active person, daring to pick up sports that she had never done before such as swimming and dragon boat paddling.
Besides going to the gym and swimming regularly, Kate paddles with the Pink Spartans, a dragon boat team for all cancer survivors and supporters. Pink Spartans was formed in May 2009 by 32 breast cancer survivors and supporters. For a 69 year old lady being involved in dragon boat for years and travelling all over the world for competitions is definitely praise-worthy! Other than dragon boating, she is involved in other activities. Wanting to have a more meaningful and useful life, Kate became a counselor in BCF in order to share her experiences as well as knowledge to those who needed help.
She also volunteers at NCC and SCS. Volunteering at the Satellite Centre at National Cancer Centre, Kate has met and counseled many patients and their family members. She has made many friends in the process and has helped these patients in many ways, including advising them on which document are required to apply for treatment funding. At the same time, she has gained much knowledge from the patients, including the types of cancer and types of drugs for treatment of different cancers.
One of Kate’s favorite hobby is gardening which helps relieve her of stress. She feels that her plants (which she affectionately calls ‘her babies’) are a source of hope for her, as they signify life. They bring across a message of hope to her and inspires her to continue living life to the fullest – “A withering plant when watered will be relived again.”
Not known to many, Kate posed topless for an article in ‘Her World’ titled ‘Woman Who Dares’ and ‘Mind your Body’ after her surgery last October. “I did it because I wanted to show to the world that even if I lose my breast, I am still the same Kate. I am very proud that I have the courage to do it and share as well as help to reach out to the rest.” She was also featured in the documentary film “Paddler is the Pink”.
This speaks volume, a courageous woman who indeed deserves our utmost respect!
Posted by Kate Wong on 6 July 2010 at 11:56 am