From adversity to dragon boating
Sports helps duo as they battle tough medical conditions
When Ms Yvonne Yik, 42, was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in August 2016, becoming a dragon boater was not on her mind.
In September 2017, after a year of intense chemotherapy and treatment, she met Madam Irene Chui, the captain of the Breast Cancer Foundation's Paddlers in the Pink (PIP), and it changed her life.
Ms Yik will be participating in the DBS Marina Regatta 2019 dragon boat race, from May 31 to June 2, with PIP.
It is jointly organised by DBS and the Singapore Dragon Boat Association, and the theme this year is "The Race Against Time", to inspire people to work for a sustainable Singapore.
Ms Yik, a customer support executive, said she cried for a week after receiving her diagnosis.
She said: "When I thought about what was going to happen to me, the image of my friend who had suffered and died from throat cancer came up."
Fortunately, she was surrounded by friends and family who supported her.
Her friends would accompany her for treatment at the National Cancer Centre, while her older sister invited her to move in with her three-year-old child and husband so she could be closer to her.
When Madam Chui spoke of the health benefits of dragon boating, Ms Yik jumped at the opportunity.
She said: "I like the feeling of sun on my skin.
"Dragon boating made me feel better and helped me forget the stress of the treatment I was going through."
Call centre operator Benson Loo, 39, will also be participating in this year's regatta.
In 2007, he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that results in gradual vision loss.
Despite his disability, Mr Loo has remained positive.
He said: "I'm blessed to lose it gradually, because I have time to learn how to feel around my surroundings."
He started dragon boating last year after the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped organised an event in November.
Mr Loo is excited about his first race and wants to enjoy the atmosphere.
He said: "It's a way to help me relax...
"When I start paddling, I throw my problems to the side."
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