Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Power of the Human Spirit

Me and Ibrahim

The power of human spirit is an awesome experience. Many people would have experienced it sometime in their lifetime. I just did.

I always had a high quotient of EQ and compassion in me and I had applied myself well in a general way. When I became a victim of a life threatening disease, my quotients raised to another notch higher, particularly for those who were less fortunate than me in coping with our medical predicament.

I was doing my daily radiotherapy sessions in PPUKM Cheras (HUKM) when I met Ibrahim accompanied by his father Encik Mazlan. Ibrahim was sick, undernourished, frail and wheel chaired. Ibrahim had the classic profile of a very sick child suffering from Leukemia. Needless to say Encik Mazlan had looked even worse off. He had the profile of a very lost father. Lost for words, lost in his thoughts, lost in his esteem and lost for hope. Encik Mazlan had lost hope for his son Ibrahim because Ibrahim in a span of several years had three relapses of cancer cells lodgment in the brain, spine and now testicles. Chemo and radiotherapies are not working well for Ibrahim. How many cancer relapses can a person take? How many cancer relapses can a frail child take? It is more often that chemo and radiation side effects would kill the patient well before cancer does. Encik Mazlan understood that.

It took two days for me to break through to Encik Mazlan. The first two days were always exchanges of a polite weak smile and “Selamat Pagi, ada baik ?”. Encik Mazlan would then shut down into his though, sitting by himself; Ibrahim waiting for the nurse to call his name for his turn in the daily long queue. From the third day onwards I had learnt more of Ibrahim’s medical conditions and the team of Oncologist’s fight to stabilize his Leukemia. PPUKM is a teaching hospital and a Specialist Centre. Ibrahim’s Oncologists are Professors and teaching staff. All doctors were on overdrive to make Ibrahim well. But there are always constraints in life. Encik Mazlan works as a billing clerk in a local TELCO company. He does not get government support and rates for hospital treatments. However Encik Mazlan is able to cover his son’s treatment under his company’s basic standard insurance scheme for lower staff members. Bone marrow and cell stem transplants are out of the question.

Over the week I had gained more confidence from Encik Mazlan and I was also able to put Ibrahim in a happy mood every morning by letting him play the games I had downloaded into my iPhone. In the course of our daily conversations, Encik Mazlan had told me something interesting. There was a full year that Ibrahim was well and his quarterly medical examinations and reports showed good markers. That was the year that Encik Mazlan’s neighbour had helped Ibrahim. He had provided filtered water for Ibrahim to drink daily from his new water filter system. All was well until Encik Mazlan had to relocate from his home in Kelana Jaya, PJ to Rawang for economic reasons. Ibrahim did not have any more opportunity drink filtered water since then, as the neighbour’s filtered water system cost about RM2500.00, with yearly maintenance cost to change the filters. Encik Mazlan could not afford it. Then Ibrahim’s cancer relapses came in one after another unabated.

I told Encik Mazlan, that he should provide the same filtered water for Ibrahim to drink daily no matter what it cost. Ibrahim was OK when drinking the filtered water. We had found out that his neighbour was using the RX WATER filter system from Worldwellness Network Sdn Bhd. A local provider in wellness products founded by Dato’ Dr. Noordin Darus.

I had suggested to Encik Mazlan to take a loan or an advance salary from his company to purchase RX water system. But he could not get his request granted for a small company loan nor advance salary. I told Encik Mazlan not to worry not to despair, I will think of something. I will think of a two stage plan for Ibrahim. Firstly is to get the RX water system immediately for Ibrahim and on a longer planning term, to source support for a Bone Marrow transplant.

I was troubled and worried but did not panic. What if I could not deliver my promise to help Ibrahim? I prayed for guidance and clarity of thoughts. I was no longer thinking of my own prevailing medical problems. My only thoughts were on how to help Ibrahim. I shared my thoughts with my wife and my daughter May Senn. I am Encik Mazlan’s HOPE. I must not fail him and Ibrahim. I must not.

I researched relentlessly in the internet into Leukemia and more into Worldwellness Network Sdn Bhd. I must contact Dato Dr. Noordin Darus. I know help is out there. But how do I talk to the company? More so, what do I talk about to the company? I called the company and requested for an appointment with Dato. The next day I had an appointment with his marketing staff who gave me the best returned call I had ever received in my mobile. Dato’ would see me, Encik Mazlan and Ibrahim on Tuesday 8 June at 11.00am.

My prayers were answered when the good Dato agreed to take on Ibrahim under his DanaWellness programme. Dato gave instruction to his staff to issue a new set of RX WATER filter system, prescription for RX salt and RX Tra to Encik Mazlan. Dato also took time to explain to us his approach to cure Ibrahim. He will see to Ibrahim on a monthly basis. What more do we want? Dato Dr Noordin is God sent to help Ibrahim. We have achieved our first stage with God’s grace.

I have gained this inert power of human spirit in me. I have it, in part because of my upbringing and the close family bondage that I cherished; thanks to my parents. In part also due to my long career in the Army. But in a great part, it is due good friends and commanderie with my running friends in Pacesetters Malaysia. They are the most selfless souls I know. After all running marathons is very akin to the human spirit. The sweat, endurance for pain and the sheer determination says it all.

Allen Lai


  1. I am aware of "God works in wonderous ways".Maybe,this is a classic example.Well done Sir! I simply cannot keep up with your pace. You enlightened me, as you always have.

  2. praying for both u and ibrahim a speedy recovery.

  3. besides Dato', ur also the walking goddess which appear in Ibrahim's life...=)wish U get well soon =D U SURE CAN SURVIVED IT!!! GAMBATEH!!!

  4. Allen,

    by yr compassion and actions you have become an instrument of divine deliverance for young Ibrahim and his family.... and a blessing and inspiration to all of us who read this.

    My prayers and thoughts of your wellbeing and Ibrahim's are with you.