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Mum is her pillar of support

When she was a month old, Miss Ong Hui Xin was diagnosed with an illness called bilateral retinoblastoma, a type of eye cancer.

Her mother, who did not want to be named, said she first noticed it when looking at her daughter and realising that her irises were not black. Instead, they looked "empty".

The baby was rushed to a clinic and was given multiple examinations and X-rays before doctors arrived at the diagnosis.

A prosthetic pair of eyes replaced her original set, which were surgically removed.

While some other blind persons might have the ability to tell light from dark, Miss Ong Hui Xin, 20, has no sense of sight at all.

As an infant, Miss Ong slept in the day and was awake at night because she could not sense light, recalled her mother.

She has been a pillar of support for her daughter, accompanying her from her Tampines flat to school every day.

Until Miss Ong's friends started helping her out at the Millennia Institute early in her first year, Mrs Ong would even wait in the school library during her lessons and guide her from one venue to another during breaks.