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17 June 2015

“When it came to volunteering, she gave her all…”

By Bridgette See

Our friend Lai Sheau Wen passed away on 30 January 2015, after an 8-year battle with several cancers. Sheau Wen was a passionate volunteer, who gave her time to many causes.

Deborah Low, who volunteered with Sheau Wen at Tan Tock Seng Hospital for some years, said: “She did not see volunteering simply as doing good, but as a way of life. She also believed in giving of her best. She did not give a minimum effort just because it was volunteer work, but did everything responsibly and enthusiastically, and with maximum effort.”

(A Raleigh Society’s environmental project in 2006 organised in conjunction with the Krabi Thai Border Police, Raleigh Thailand and Nanyang Girls High School. The project involved improving the walking trail in Krabi after the 2004 tsunami. The signs were to be placed at the entrance of the forest walking trail.)

Even after her cancer diagnosis, Sheau Wen continued to volunteer and even chaired the Raleigh Society, a local adventure and youth development group, for several years. Sheau Wen’s strength and grace in coping with her challenges has inspired us to stay strong and brave when faced with difficulties in life.

Before she passed on, Sheau Wen benefited from the services of the HCA Hospice Care, which gives free end-of-life care for anyone, regardless of their financial status.

Sheau Wen’s mother shared that Nurse Joo Eng, who visited Sheau Wen a number of times, was always gentle and caring. Mrs Lai added that the social worker, Grace Toh, from HCA had gently reminded Sheau Wen to draw up a will and to get her medical reports in order so as to facilitate insurance claims.

“It’s hard for me, her parent, to ask her to draw up her will and to talk about death,” said Mrs Lai. “So I was glad that the social worker spoke directly and tactfully to Sheau Wen about it.” Mrs Lai said HCA also offered to loan equipment like a wheelchair and commode.

In the spirit of Paying It Forward, a group of Sheau Wen’s friends, who are organising a charity event Let’s Take A Walk (LTAW), have decided to dedicate half of the proceeds from this year’s event to HCA.

As a tribute to Sheau Wen’s indomitable courage and spirit, we made her the posthumous chairperson of LTAW, a Raleigh Society flagship event she had supported many times as the society’s chairperson.

Sheau Wen’s godsister Liu Xiao Xuan shared: “My sis always made volunteering a big part of her life. When I was a child, she brought me along to volunteer at MINDS, to sing Christmas carols at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and even influenced me to walk 100km in the 2010 LTAW.”

Xiao Xuan added: “It did not occur to me back then, but I later learnt that Sheau Wen had intentionally brought me along to inculcate the spirit of volunteerism in me.”

Indeed, Xiao Xuan is now carrying on Sheau Wen’s spirit of volunteerism by helping out in LTAW’s Publicity and Sponsorship sub-committee. If you are also keen to volunteer for the most hard-core walking event in Singapore, please visit us at www.letstakeawalk.sg to sign up. Please help us to spread the word on LTAW by Liking us on Facebook too!

Bridgette See is an Executive Member of Raleigh Society and the Publicity and Sponsorship I/C for Let’s Take A Walk.