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“Precious Gems 5″ – Angels Abound
30 September 2016

by Ms Angeline Wee, CEO of HCA Hospice Care

It was a hive of activity at our Daycare Centre. As I approached the dining tables during morning tea, many patients called out to me and waved cheerily. They exclaimed how delicious the cupcakes were. Some even told me – slightly embarrassed – that they were having seconds. A large group of ladies dressed in white were serving our patients the colourful cupcakes, dotted with ‘hundreds and thousands’. No they were not nurses, but our faithful volunteers who never fail to show their support at our Daycare centre. They explained that as the next day was World Peace Day, they decided to wear white in a show of support for the occasion. I wondered if the patients had gotten wind of the occasion, as there were 33 patients present, a larger than usual number.

Not only had these angels in white prepared the cupcakes and a very special lunch for our patients, they had also painstakingly wrapped soft bath and hand towels in turquoise and white for each of our patients. In addition, they led our patients in morning exercises comprising breathing, stretching and a very fun “laughing yoga” routine. Ah Kong (Grandpa) was sitting at the back of the group and I was worried that he could not hear or see the exciting hubbub, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that he could follow almost every step of the exercise. From the outstretching of the hands, to the rolling of the head, right to the wriggling of the toes, Ah Kong faithfully followed the steps and in rhythm too!

Madam Ng grumbled that I had not been down to the Centre often enough to see her. Encik Rahmat shouted a loud “Hello” to me. Even though I have been to the Daycare many times, each patient I meet would warmly and firmly grasp my hand, thanking me profusely for the wonderful work we are doing. Even though I recognised their faces, I felt somewhat guilty for not remembering all their names.

An hour later, I was down at the Daycare Centre again to welcome our wonderful ultramarathoner, Mr Lim Nghee Huat, who had run the Ultra Great Britain 320km run and single-handedly raised more than $200k for HCA. He did remarkably well, coming in 5th in a field of 27. Mr and Mrs Lim had insisted on coming to HCA to personally thank Gloria, who had painted a piece of art for Mr Lim. They admired the handicraft made by our patients, looked at all the beautiful photographs and greeted many patients. What was most interesting was when Mr Lim met the angels in white – they had nothing but praise for each other and each was humbled by what the other had done.

Mr Lim spoke passionately about how happy he was about the run. Although he met with freak storms, got lost many times in the forest, had a headlamp that didn’t work (so he could not see in the night), he revealed that this run was the most pleasant and comfortable run – and his longest distance in the shortest time – of all the runs he’s ever done. Mr and Mrs Lim regaled us many interesting anecdotes. For example, Mrs Lim shared that although they had brought five pairs of shoes, they still ran out as it rained most of the time and his shoes kept getting wet. As there were no dryers in the accommodation, Mrs Lim had to go to MacDonald’s late in the night to use the hand dryers to dry the shoes. At every checkpoint, every runner wanted to borrow their precious two small bottles of powder to keep the feet dry, so as to avoid blisters. Mrs Lim was worried that the powder would not be enough for Mr Lim, but fortunately, at the later checkpoints, there were no other runners there at the same time. Mr Lim also laughed when he told us he had mistakenly packed a pair of shorts that was a size too small. But it wasn’t funny when the shorts cut into his thighs as he ran the long distance.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable day for our patients. What more can we ask for when we have such “GEMS” in our midst? I am thankful for the angels in white and our angel with wings on his feet.