Tuesday, July 17, 2012


When Jaja’s Rheumy contacted me asking us whether we’re interested to join an arthritis awareness event, my heart said yes right away. However, I told her I need to discuss with hubs first. The thing is my husband is now working in KL and we are only reunited during weekends. So weekends are solely family time. Later that night I called Jaja’s Rheumy, Dr. Tang telling her that we're in :-)

Evelyn from Abbott Malaysia called us the next day right after Jaja’s appointment with Dr. Tang. Abbott is the main organizer for the event. The event is actually ‘Meet MY WIRA’ campaign. WIRA stands for Malaysia Women in Rheumatoid Arthritis. She briefed us on the event and informed us that there will be a dialogue session with the Health Minister Dato’ Seri Liow Tiong Lai after the launching. She asked us about Jaja’s history and her current condition. We were being told that they might ask Jaja a few questions like her hobbies and ambition. So I keep drilling Jaja with those questions so that she’s prepared for it.

We drove to Bentong early Saturday. Poor hubs. He just arrived from KL that nite and the next day, he needs to drive on the same road again. We arrived Bentong Hospital at 11:30 am. We were led to the hall where the event will be held and we were introduced to other arthritis patients. 1st patient is Hazira from Alor Setar. She’s 13 and has Juvenile Arthritis since 7 years old. She came with her mother Puan Norliza and her sister. 2nd patient is Kak Eliani (Kak Eli) from Bukit Setongkol, Kuantan. She’s a very jovial person and we clicked immediately.. hehehe.. She just got arthritis 2 years ago and lucky her, she detects it early. So her arthritis condition is under control for now. Later after lunch, we met another 2 patients. Madam Ding Mee Hong is the ambassador for MY WIRA. She has been living with arthritis since early 20s. She’s 50 plus now. She has undergone several joint replacement surgeries because of arthritis. She came with her husband. From the body contact, I can tell how supportive her husband is towards her. Madam Ding told us the importance to get early treatment and join the support group. Some patients can get stressed if the arthritis condition is not under control. She also emphasized on monitoring the arthritis condition regularly with  a Rheumy. The last patient is Aunty Pavarathy. I didn’t have enough time to chat with her because she joined us quite late and she sat quite far from us during the event.

Getting a glimpse of fame :-p
I talked a lot with Kak Norliza. She’s a nurse. She shared her stories on the difficulties that she had gone through at the early stage of Hazira’s arthritis. Same as Jaja, Hazira also got her treatment a bit late because everyone including doctors was not aware of juvenile arthritis. Her arthritis condition is quite severe I think. She still needs to take Prednisolone and MTX. Unlike Jaja, she has to take MTX thru injections L

I’m so glad to meet all these heroes. Most of them were very supportive towards Jaja. They showed Jaja their special fingers and told her, ‘that’ condition doesn’t hinder them from doing routine activities. Jaja has been asking me for quite sometimes why is her little finger crooked.  At least now she knows only special people have fingers like her ;-)

The launching event was simple but yet meaningful. My eyes were teary when they showed MY WIRA montage. Right after the montage Madam Ding stepped forward and shared her stories and aspiration. Abbott Malaysia's General Manager, Mr. Muru Annamalai then gave a very inspiring speech mentioning all the 'heroes' involved in the campaign. Last but not least, the Health Minister of Malaysia gave his ‘sepatah dua kata’ and launched the event.

Hazira, Madam Ding & Jaja
Playing with her Kak Hazira
The montage that made me teary
Madam Ding sharing her story
We had dialogue session with the minister after the launching. Again, my eyes became teary when Hazira talked about how she gets arthritis at the age of 7. Her stories were really heart breaking and inspiring. She wanted to be a scentist! Jaja was already asleep during the launching and was not that ‘sporting’ enough during the dialogue session. The microphone was passed to Aunty Pavarathy when Jaja refused to talk (Penat jek drill questions). I could see Dr. Tang who was sitting opposite us looked a bit stunned and I was a bit discontented. I mean, I got to say something. If not public wouldn’t know the pain that my little girl has gone through. When Aunty Pavarathy was sharing her stories (still teary), I whispered to the MC that I want to say something after that. I was nervous when the microphone was handed to me. I shared with the audience briefly from the day Jaja started limping due to swelling knee, got worsen until she couldn’t walk that went almost one year before she gets the proper diagnosis and correct treatment. I told the minister the importance of creating awareness of Juvenile Arthritis and to get more Paediatric Rheumatologist in Malaysia. My words were a bit jumbled up but I think I managed to pass the message across the room.  The session ended with photo session. At this point Jaja was already in good mood. Nampak sgt anak aku nih cam-whore.. hahaha..

Hazira, Kak Eli, Madam Ding & Aunty Pavarathy
Dialogue session with Health Minister
Dr. Azmilah & Dr. Tang Swee Ping
Jaja with Dato' Liow
I would say the event was a successful one. I wanted to thank Mr. Muru Annamalai personally for the great campaign but I only managed to meet Evelyn at the end. I thanked her for giving us the opportunity to join the awareness campaign. She told me that Abbott Malaysia is going to do a similar campaign focusing on Juvenile Arthritis which I think is a brilliant idea. To Abbott Malaysia, thank you for opening public’s eyes on Rheumatoid and Juvenile Arthritis. Keep up the good work!!

1 comment:

adzue said...

we are so proud of you, beddie!
muah! muah!

i know it was not an easy journey, but by golly the ending is as sweet as a ripe fresh cherry on a bright summer's day.

heheheheh. poetic tak aku?