Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Where There’s a Will There’s a Way

Where There’s a Will There’s a Way

26 years old Harikrishnan Maniam (Hari) graduated with a Bachelor of Finance (Hons) in 2014. He was ready to start his first job and help support his family, but his life took an abrupt turn when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma advanced stage.

It was shocking news for him and his family. Coming from a middle-income background, his parents almost had to refinance their only home to get their son treated. Together with funds raised through public appeal, Hari was able to get the treatment he needed. Today, the cancer is in remission and Hari has been given a clean bill of health.

The Big C
It all started with a persistent cough. Every time he visited the doctor, Hari was prescribed the usual cough medications. When he showed no signs of recovery, he was told that he could have tuberculosis (TB). He was put on medication for TB but again the coughing did not abate. Tired of not having any proper answer, Hari decided to do his own ‘research’ based on the symptoms he had. He made a list of possible diseases and went about getting the necessary check-ups. When the doctors finally confirmed it was cancer and broke the news to him, Hari was not surprised.

“That was the last item on my list which I hadn’t crossed out. But because I had done some research and read up about cancer, I was prepared. In a way I was glad. Now that I knew what the problem was, I could then consider my options,” Hari said.

Finding out about his options and costs of treatment however left him feeling down. The prospect of being saddled with the treatment costs and visits to the hospital instead of to an office was daunting. Yet he found the determination to go through with the treatment with the support given by parents, siblings and friends.

Hari involved his parents in his treatment process and even have them accompanied him to talks and seminars related to cancer. He felt that it was important for his parents to know more about cancer so they would have the confidence to care for him and to understand the doctor’s explanation about his condition better.

After completing his treatment, Hari went straight to work, feeling anxious to get his life back on track. But the effects of chemotherapy made him weak and tire easily, and he wasn’t able to perform up to expectations. “I felt it wasn’t fair to my bosses to have to bear with my condition which disrupted work, so I decided to leave the job.”

He also made the decision to dedicate time to resting and recovering. He read and looked for info on how to care for his body, including learning to meditate. It was not only a process of recovery, but also a journey of discovery. “I wouldn’t be here now if not for the support, courage and hope given by my parents, friends and family. You will see the true colours of people when you’re in need and that happened to me. I’ve met so many kind-hearted individuals who came forward to help me, both emotionally and financially. I will always be grateful to them.”

Since recovering, Hari has joined MAKNA as a volunteer with the hope of giving back to society, especially in helping those suffering from cancer. And despite his medical history, he is now employed at a well-known airlines.  

Hari’s story is an inspiration. His determination to fight cancer and to recover has made him the person and got him to where he is today, fully demonstrating that where there’s a will combined with the help of family, friends and even strangers, there’s a way and a life after cancer.

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