Realizing A Two-Year Dream

Photo by Wuan.

For the twenty one years since being disabled, there was never one day I did not wish I could do something more either for myself or for the people around me, especially Mum. I had taken and I have taken. For many people, their lives revolved around me. They made sure my needs and interests were well taken care of.

Now I still have friends who took my well-being into consideration. I am thankful for that. They have sacrificed time, money and effort in making sure I am comfortable whatever my endeavor. As I have so often said, I am blessed. God have been merciful to have sent so many Samaritans along this arduous journey of mine. It was difficult but the many people along the way have made it more interesting. Thank you my dear friends. You know who you are.

In the twenty one years since being disabled, I have never had such a desire to accomplish something as I have done recently. Mum was the reason. Suanie gave me the impetus. Jason got it going when we talked about it in IRC. Four more brave generous souls joined in. This is more than I could have asked for. The Hair For Hospice donation drive has managed to garner RM5,170 in pledges to date. Thank you all for your generosity. And thank you all for allowing me to realize a two-year dream of doing something for the Hospice-At-Home Programme.

Nevertheless, the Hair For Hospice is not purely a donation drive, the other purpose being to create an awareness of the Hospice-At-Home Programme. Terminally ill patients and families of people so afflicted can get help to cope with the nursing and medical care and counseling during such distressing times in the comfort of their own homes, hospitals or nursing homes.

Palliative care is important for people who are fighting the toughest and in all probabilities the final battle of their lives. The core philosophy of the Hospice is that everyone has the right to die relatively pain-free and with dignity. That is what the Penang Hospice has been doing and they have done a good job, providing palliative care to all who need it, regardless of race or religion.

I can attest to that, having been at the receiving and of their selfless generosity during the most painful period of Mum’s and my life. Truly, I would not have known how to cope with the situation had it not been for the Penang Hospice. If there is any one word to describe them, I can only think of angels. They are beyond doubt angels in our midst.

There are many people to thank for giving me the opportunity to realize this dream. I would like to thank Dato Dr. T. Devaraj for giving me the authorization and provided me with the resources to carry this through. This meant the world to me. Thank you to Dr. Oo and Chitra of the Penang Hospice who had also helped me in many ways and I am grateful for their assistance and dedication to this cause. Special thanks go to Palliative Care Nurse Karen Gan who made Mum so comfortable during those final weeks and for helping dress my pressure sore. Please accept my sincerest gratitude. I would not have made it without your help. Thank you.

I would like to thank Jason Tee who got me off with this campaign, I would like to thank Bryan and Sharizal who volunteered to shave along with me. These guys are the greatest! And to Devyne who thought this is the right thing to do and also to dedicate her bald head to her aunt who is undergoing treatment in Singapore for cancer. God bless you and your aunt. And to Jason Lioh, the latest and last addition to the team, thank you for the sacrifice. You are all an inspiration to me. We hardly knew each other and you all stepped up to make a difference to people who need that help most.

Thank you to all bighearted donors who have helped us achieve the target. I can never thank you enough. A big thank you also go out to so many of you who have supported this campaign by promoting it in your blogs, through word of mouth and giving us publicity in the media. You will always be in my prayers. Please do not let this end. I hope those who have money to spare to continue supporting the Penang Hospice-At-Home Programme. They need all the support you can give to help others who need it. Know that your compassion will ease the pain of someone who is struggling to hang on. Giving them the dignity of palliative care is the least we can do for other fellow humans who are walking the last few miles of their lives. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. God bless.

The Star: Debt Of Gratitude

The Star – October 24, 2005.

Debt of gratitude

As blogging gains popularity in the country, a new trend is fast emerging – blogging for charity. MICHAEL CHEANG talks to disabled blogger Peter Tan about one such effort on his blog.

TWO years ago, they helped ease his dying mother’s final days, and today, wheelchair-bound blogger Peter Tan is expressing his gratitude to the Penang Hospice-At-Home-Programme by sacrificing something he holds dear – his trademark long hair which he has kept for almost three years.

Tan, who is paralysed from the chest down following a diving accident 21 years ago, has pledged to shave his head to raise RM5,000 for the Hospice programme. Hospice helped care for his mother Theresa Lim in 2003 when she was stricken with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Being wheelchair-bound, Tan had trouble caring for her, and Hospice sent a palliative care nurse three days a week during her final month to check on her and provide her with all the medical and nursing care she needed. Those visits made a difference in easing her pain, and also made Tan’s job of caring for his mother a lot easier.

Besides caring for his mother, Hospice’s staff also helped Tan. “I developed a pressure sore on my buttocks from long hours of sitting up tending to mum, and they dressed the sore too,” Tan recalled.

“I am forever grateful to Penang Hospice for coming into our lives at a time when we needed help most. When my mother was still alive, she used to tie my hair into ponytails for me. So it means a lot to me. However, giving away three years of hair will not be sufficient to give back to Hospice what it has given us.

Peter Tan: ‘I am forever grateful to Penang Hospice for coming into our lives at a time when we needed help most.’

“After my mum passed away, I vowed that I would do something for Hospice so that it could help other people who are in the same situation. However, disadvantaged as I am, I could not think of anything else except to shave my head to raise funds for them.”

Tan’s aptly titled Hair for Hospice campaign was announced on his blog, The Digital Awakening (, earlier this month.

At the time of writing, Hair for Hospice has collected more than 50% of the RM5,000 target, and when the target is reached Tan will not be the only blogger who will be sporting the Kojak look. Four others – including one female blogger – have also pledged to go bald for the cause.

Tan’s effort is just one instance of an emerging trend in the rapidly growing blogging community in Malaysia – blogging for charity.

Through their vast network of blogs (also known as web-logs, or online journals), bloggers in Malaysia have been involved in several charitable activities, one of the most prominent being the worldwide Blogathon event on Aug 6.

On that day, bloggers all over the world stayed up for 24 hours to blog every 30 minutes non-stop to raise money for various charities. In Malaysia, the participants for the Blogathon were widespread and diverse in the charities they were blogging for.

Tan himself was involved with a collaborative blog called Bloggers are Morons, along with five other prominent bloggers, which eventually raised RM5,085.72 for Hospice. Another group of bloggers, which included young author John Ling and freelance writer Yvonne Foong, blogged to raise money for the Eden Handicap Service Centre.

Incidentally, Foong herself is the subject of another blogger charity campaign. Foong, who is a patient of Neurofibromatosis (an illness of the nervous system with no known cure), is raising money for her own medical fund by selling T-shirts through her blog (, together with the help of several other bloggers.

To learn more about Tan’s campaign and for more information on how to donate to Hair for Hospice, go to his blog post at

Jason Lioh Pledges His Hair For Hospice

The Hair For Hospice quintet warmly welcomes Jason Lioh to the team. He has pledged to shave his head for this cause. Jason blogs at Jason Mumbles. He also makes a mean pot of soya bean milk. Jason and Jason will be shaving their heads in Melaka as both of them are studying in the same university. It is truly heartening to see fine young men like them having hearts of gold. This is a good example of using blogs positively to help those in need. Read why Jason is doing this in his entry titled Jason’s Hair For Peter’s “Hair For Hospice.”

Related entry:
Hair For Hospice