She devotes herself to son with special needs
Next Saturday, an event will be held to honour caregivers, and recognise their unstinting care for their loved ones. TNP speaks to caregivers about their struggles and sacrifices
She remembers the doctor's words as if it were yesterday: "Your son, he has no hope to live".
When Madam Faridah Thamby heard those words about her then four-year-old son, Fahmi Adam, her world crumbled.
The housewife, 51, said: "I know he was sick but hearing a doctor say those things about my poor boy, it broke my heart."
But she refused to give up.
Madam Faridah patiently learnt how to tube-feed her son and dedicated herself to providing round-the-clock care for Fahmi.
Now 15, he was born with Robinow Syndrome - a rare disorder that affects his body's development.
He also has other medical conditions including global developmental delay and epilepsy. He is completely dependent on others to survive.
The constant specialised care that Fahmi required "came with no instruction booklet" and Madam Faridah initially felt overwhelmed by all she had to do.
"There were times when I felt like I was not just Fahmi's mother, it was like I was a nurse in a hospital too, attending to a patient," she said.
The most challenging moments were when Fahmi would throw tantrums, thrashing his body around and shouting.
She developed her own ways of calming him down - singing in his ear and caressing his arm.
Madam Faridah said: "He just wants to get attention, and it is the only way he knows how to communicate."
Fahmi's condition has since improved dramatically, and he now goes to school every weekday at Asian Women's Welfare Association (AWWA) School at Yio Chu Kang.
There, he develops skills such as fine motor, communication, cognitive and self-help skills.
He no longer needs to be tube-fed and can get around by himself using a walker.
His technician father, Mr Adam Amin, 51, said the family - the couple have two older sons - can even go on holidays together now.
Madam Faridah says Fahmi's improving condition was only possible thanks to the support she has received from her family, friends and his teachers at AWWA.
"Caregivers need care too, and I am lucky to have my family, siblings, neighbours and so many people who have supported me," she said.
Madam Faridah knows that even though Fahmi will probably not experience the life of an average person, at least with her, he will be loved regardless.
She said: "It is not his fault he is this way."
As tears welled up in her eyes, she smiled and said: "But he is my baby and I will never stop loving him."
"There were times when I felt like I was not just Fahmi's mother, it was like I was a nurse in a hospital too, attending to a patient."
- Madam Faridah Thamby