A Family's Battle

Mohamed Sayed Sameer Bin Abdul Kadir, Age 15

Since he was born, Mohamed Sayed Sameer Bin Abdul Kadir has been in and out of the hospital countless times. However, this has not interfered with his love of outdoor sports like soccer, basketball and shooting. 

 The active boy, who is in NPCC and intends to be a police officer, says, “My friends don’t treat me any differently and I’ve been managing school, supplementary classes and weekly Saturday tuition lessons quite well.” 
Sameer was initially given monthly IV antibiotic injections, but as time went by his body rejected the drugs. He then underwent two operations when he was eight months old and 13 months old respectively. Although a scope revealed that everything was in order, he developed asthma two years ago and has since been taking medication for it. 
He visits the hospital for a check-up once every six months, which will end when he is eighteen and ready to enroll in National Service. As one of Sameer’s kidneys is gradually shrinking, he has to take extra precaution by cutting down on cold drinks, watching his diet and avoiding smoking and drinking.
For nine years, Sameer has been attending Camp Rainbow and other Club Rainbow (Singapore) activities, and is reluctant to miss any. Having interacted with others who also have chronic illnesses, he is keen to become a CRS volunteer in the future. In his own words, he wants people to “go ahead and do your best. Never stop trying because you only get one life.” 
His mother, Lujahhan, is proud of him. “Sameer is a happy-go-lucky and carefree child. He helps with the household chores and knows how to comfort me when I’m not in a good mood.” She says in relief, “The doctor mentioned his growth might be affected, but he turned out the tallest in the family.”  
Lujahhan, who has been working as a receptionist in the customer service sector for eight years, recently became the sole breadwinner after her husband lost his job. She persevered even when facing hardships during her first few months at work, and today she has solid rapport with many customers. “They were curious to know how I can still smile at work. It’s because I keep my work and personal life separate. This trial has strengthened me,” Lujahhan explains.  
But keeping a positive mindset didn’t come easy. She struggles to control her emotions as she recalls the helplessness she felt during the early days of Sameer’s diagnosis. “I was so worried that I forgot I was in confinement and accompanied him to the hospital. The doctor said the disease might be brainrelated and my mind went blank when I heard that. When his condition was eventually identified, I was relieved and sad at the same time. I kept asking God, why me?”
The cold treatment from her own relatives made it worse. “They made negative comments about him because they don’t understand his condition. People actually tried to dissuade us from going ahead with the operations, but we are his parents and the choice was ours. We did the right thing.”
As the topic turns to the support she has received, Lujahhan is full of praise for the doctors, nurses and social workers who have each helped the family in their own way. She is also appreciative of CRS’s efforts in easing the financial burden by dispensing food rations and diapers when Sameer was younger. 
She says, “Prof Yap Hui Kim, Sameer’s doctor, was the one who referred us to CRS. Thanks to the organisation, we were able to travel to Kuala Lumpur as a family for the first time with all expenses paid. During the trip we bonded with other families; I could relate to them as we have all been through difficult times. Seeing how they overcame their own problems truly inspired me.”
Her greatest wish now is for her three children to stay healthy, and for Sameer’s condition to improve.
“I need to be strong for all of my kids. It is challenging but I can stand on my own two feet now and I want to do it without solely depending on others for help,” she declares confidently. “Although there have been ups and downs, we made it through together. My children are always there for me and they taught me to never give up in life.”