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When James Yeo was 16, his mother was diagnosed with end-stage cancer.
Treatment was costly and little aid was available at the time. To contribute to the family's burgeoning expenses, the student decided to take on several part-time F&B jobs.
But juggling school, work, and caring for his ailing mother soon became too much to handle. Soon, Yeo dropped out of school.
And two-and-a-half years later, his mother passed away. "It was a dark period for me — extremely mentally draining. It felt endless to me," Yeo recalls. "I was just 20 then."
Raising funds for needy patients
Yeo is one of the 50 volunteer cyclists who participated in a six-day, 1,000km cross-border ride to raise funds for underprivileged kidney patients.
The ride, organised by the Kidney Dialysis Foundation (KDF), is an annual event and touted as one of Singapore's most challenging endurance charity rides.
This year's edition — the first since the start of the pandemic — saw the 50 cyclists riding over 1,000km from Penang to Singapore between Oct. 26 and 31.
Passing through the states of Penang, Ipoh, Klang, and Muar, the cyclists spent over 12 hours a day on the road, rain or shine.
In total, they raised over S$450,000 — enough for over 2,400 dialysis sessions.
The funds will go to providing low-income, end-stage kidney patients with subsidised dialysis and treatment.
Caring for the terminally ill
Yeo shared that he hopes to raise awareness of what it's like living and caring for a terminally ill family member.
Calling his own experience "mentally torturous", he said that the family, overwhelmed with caring for his mother, was unable to come to terms with their own emotions.
"It was all about making enough money to make ends meet, pay off mum’s medical fees, and live life day by day," he shared.
"I have missed parts of teenage life due to my family circumstances then, and I do not wish for anyone to be in my scenario ever."
The fundraiser is open till Mar. 31, 2023.
Members of the public can donate to the cause here.
Top image courtesy of KDF.
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