Capturing memories for hospice patients
HCA Hospice Care patients have pictures with family taken
Mr Nai Chik Chiew, 79, smiled as his grandchildren passed him the family portrait they had just taken at HCA Hospice Care.
Mr Nai, who has terminal cancer, is a day-care patient at the hospice.
His eldest daughter, Madam Kate Nai, 50, said: "He was excited to get a professional family portrait taken.
"We almost did not come down today because we were going to meet at night for our reunion dinner. But after seeing how sad our father became, we decided that we just had to do it."
Mr Nai's family was one of about 30 getting their portraits taken on Saturday at the hospice's headquarters at Jalan Tan Tock Seng.
It is the third year HCA has organised photo-taking for families, and volunteers from different organisations were on hand to take the photos and help the families with make-up.
Madam Cyndi Tay, 45, who volunteers with HCA, said: "We help them do their make-up so that they can look good.
"Some of them have never even got the chance to get all dolled up before, so we hope to give them a good photo and an even better memory."
Clowns from the Caring Clown Unit, a non-profit that entertains children and their caregivers through therapeutic humour, were also there to help out.
Two-year-old Zachary Chan, who has a paediatric neurotransmitter disorder, was able to take a photo with his parents and older brother, who is four.
Due to his condition, which affects the central nervous system, Zachary is expected to live only a few more years, said his mother, Madam Lee Chiew Yi.
"That is why we decided to come down for this event. Photos make good memories, and I want to make lots of good memories for the family, especially for Zachary's older brother," said Madam Lee, 32.
HCA chief executive Angeline Wee said: "This event is especially meaningful, as for some families, it may very well be the last time they take a photo together or have quality, care-free time as a family."
While most of the patients involved are terminally ill, they were all smiles and posed gamely for the camera. But there was no denying the underlying sense of impending loss.
Madam Ani Mansoor, 50, was close to tears when she talked about how important this event was to her.
The hospice patient has been diagnosed with Stage 3 advanced cancer, and she said this was the first time that her family of 12 had gotten together for a portrait.
She said: "It is good that we did this, because it will be a good memory for my children and grandchildren. They will have something to remember me by."
HCA will be holding another family photo-taking event in August. Volunteers are welcome to register with the hospice.