Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Survivor who does not Give Up

Cindy pictured above
If you talked with Cindy Goh, a first year student from the Diploma in Social Sciences (Social Work), you would never have guessed that she is a cancer survivor. The effervescent and petite 17 year old has a toughness that belies her small frame, and not a hint of self-pity.

Cindy was diagnosed with bone cancer at the tender age of 10, when, during a study trip to Australia, her teacher noticed her limping and expressed her concern. Initially, both Cindy and her mother attributed her limp to flat feet, and hence were not overly worried.

It was not until Cindy’s father discovered a hard lump in her knee that made her parents decide to rush Cindy to the hospital. She underwent surgery to remove the tumour in her knee, along with 90% of the muscle surrounding her kneecap. A metal kneecap was also implanted in her left knee.

After the surgery, Cindy went through a year of chemotherapy to combat her cancer. Sometimes she was admitted back to hospital after her chemotherapy sessions due to the side-effects she suffered, such as severe vomiting and high fever. During those days, besides having a lowered immune system, she also suffered hair loss and had to wear a cap.

Cindy missed more than a year of school due to her illness and only returned to school at year’s end to take her Primary 5 examinations. She was given only 2 months to catch up on the entire year’s syllabus. If she did not pass the exams, she could not be promoted to Primary 6.

At that point of time, Cindy did not even possess the textbooks needed for Primary 5. Even with the odds stacked against her, Cindy persevered and in the end passed all her subjects except for Science. She was allowed to progress to Primary 6 and continued to work even harder that year, scoring well enough in her Primary School Leaving Examinations to join the Express stream at Mayflower Secondary School.

Cindy’s naturally sunny and can do attitude helped her to lead a well-balanced secondary school life, where she was awarded bursaries and care awards due to her diligence in her schoolwork and helpfulness towards her peers. Cindy credits her family and social worker for helping her stay strong during the trying times of her illness.

“My parents were very supportive and they never gave up on me, giving me hope and motivation to beat the cancer. My social worker also went the extra mile to engage a tutor for me during my PSLE,” she said reverently.

When asked about her hobbies and interests, Cindy encountered a bit of a mental block.

“Hmmm, I don’t really have many hobbies,” she finally murmurs, embarrassed. “Does watching K-dramas and variety shows count?” she asked with a laugh.

Besides enjoying music by Big Bang, her favourite Korean boy band, Cindy is also in NYP’s Community Service club due to her unquenchable desire to give back to the society.

“I want to help those with cancer to see the light beyond their current dark void, to give them hope and remind them they should never give up on themselves or their dreams. Life has its ups and downs, but every dark cloud has a silver lining,” she emphasised.

Cindy intends to stay healthy in life and is set on inspiring and touching as many lives as she can.

Cindy (right) and myself

By Brina Lim, Diploma in Molecular Biotechnology

Brina is a first year student studying Molecular Biotechnology. Her hobbies include reading and writing. She is an avid fan of Jodi Picoult’s novels and has loved the Harry Potter series since she was a child. She enjoys reading news about England’s royal family and finds a role model in Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Her favourite artiste is Taylor Swift and her dream vacation would be to tour London, visit the museum, Buckingham palace, and take a stroll alongside the river Thames. 


  1. Admire Cindy strong determination and Postive outlook. Keep it up! Cindy!
    Well Done Brina for writing this touching article!