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“Precious Gems 3″ by CEO Ms Angeline Wee
29 July 2016

Loved to the end

As I entered the large hall within the school campus, I was greeted by a jolly clown, decked in a fancy and colourful striped outfit. He was fat and round, with painted thick red lips, a bulbous nose, wearing an equally colourful bowler hat. He tipped his hat, showing a bald pate and introduced himself, “My name is Hairy, spelt H. A. I. R. Y.” and pointed to his hairless head. That made me laugh so hard! Lifting a plastic bottle in his hand, he said, “And my surname is Bottle, as in this plastic bottle!” I laughed again. Hairy is one of our favourite volunteer Caring Clowns who never fails to show up when we need his presence.

I was at the “We are Family” portrait event and the atmosphere was most carnival like, fun, gay and happy. Tucked at one corner was the makeup section. It looked like a mini makeup studio, with colourful palettes of rouge, eye shadow and lipsticks of all shades. Raring to go were quite a few professional makeup artists waiting to give make-overs to those who wanted their portraits taken. At the other far end was a professionally set up photo studio, with backdrop, studio lights and all and manned by a group of professional photographers ready to take shots of our patients and their families.

A food station took up another corner. A generous volunteer had baked beautiful and delicious cupcakes for all to share. “The OLDE days” mini stations and game stalls were manned by students and our staff. There were many great games to entertain our patients and their families including “pick up marbles with chopsticks”, “chaptek”, Jenga, balloon sculpting stations and many others from the good old days. There was also a stage where student performers went up to sing or played instruments throughout the day. Roaming around the hall were “Spongebob”, “Shrek” and “Spiderman”, not forgetting Mr Hairy Bottle.

I recognised quite a few of our patients who were there with their families dressed to the nines to have their family portrait photographed. They all gave me cheery waves. Others were at the stalls playing games and reminiscing their past. Most notable was the fact that the patients were doing the activities as a family.

Near the exit were two stations, manned by student volunteers. One was where families were busy decorating photo frames, so that they could take the frames to the second station, where students were printing out carefully selected photographs of the patient and their families and framing them for collection. Included with each beautifully decorated frame was a thumbdrive containing the rest of the photos the family had taken. I looked closely at some of the photos and marvelled at how well taken they were and felt warmed that each family had a photo they could cherish with fond memories. I also saw that some patients took the opportunity to take “head” shots of themselves, in preparation for what was inevitable. I was sad, but then again, the photos radiated happiness and depicted contented looks of every single patient.

As I was about to leave, a patient with 22 family members walked in, all so well dressed. I noticed how well co-ordinated the daughters were, as six of them were dressed in cheongsams. I felt happy that the entire family cared enough to come together to get possibly the last family photo taken. I was very touched by the cohesive teamwork put up by our student volunteers, each and every one of our staff members, who came together on a Saturday, to help our patients and their families create a wonderful memory they can cherish forever. This is another reason, why I am glad to be in HCA!