Inspiring patients who overcame challenges lauded at SingHealth awards
After three brain operations as a result of intracranial haemorrhage, or bleeding in the skull, over eight years, Ms Usha Rani had already faced enough challenges for a lifetime.
However, in 2014, she suffered from cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, a pre-cancerous condition where abnormal cells grow on the surface of the cervix, which led to the removal of her womb.
Then in 2018, she was diagnosed with hyperlipidaemia, which is a high level of cholesterol in the blood, and hypertension.
Despite all the hurdles, Ms Usha, a 56-year-old teacher at Blangah Rise Primary School, remained positive.
She was awarded the Partner-In-Care Award at the Singapore Health Inspirational Patient and Caregiver Awards (IPCA) virtual award ceremony held yesterday. She was recognised for her active partnership with healthcare teams to help improve the care quality and experience of others.
The IPCA honours individuals that inspire others with their ability to overcome adversity, as well as patient support groups that provide invaluable support to patients and caregivers.
Ms Usha told The New Paper: "I always tell my students, 'You cannot change where you started, but you can change where you will end up'."
In one of her meetings with a student's mother who had just been released from prison, Ms Usha realised the importance of understanding a child's incarcerated parent to help them comprehend what their parents were going through.
This led her to volunteer as a mentor for incarcerated women with Beautiful People SG's Free For Good programme in 2019.
Another awardee at this year's IPCA is Mr Edwin Tan, 27, who received the Inspirational Patient Award.
Upon discovering he had a rare hereditary eye disorder, retinitis pigmentosa, which leads to a gradual loss of vision, during a health screening when he was 12, his life has never been the same again.
Despite the challenges of growing up legally blind, Mr Tan managed to receive a secondary school education after PSLE and went on to the Institute of Technical Education before graduating from Temasek Polytechnic in 2017.
Mr Tan, who works as a community and partnership leader at co-working community Social Collider, discovered his love for chess during his secondary school days and has learnt to visualise the chess board.
Refusing to let his visual impairment be an obstacle, he even represented Singapore at international chess tournaments as a para chess athlete and is now training for the Asean Para Games 2021 in December.
An ardent supporter of local causes and firm believer that there should be more inclusive programmes available, Mr Tan has been volunteering actively at Runninghour, a sports club that promotes integration of people with special needs, since 2012 and joined the youth development programme organised by charity SPD in 2018.
He told TNP: "As I cannot change what I cannot change, then I will change the things that I can change."