She put job on hold to care for seriously ill boyfriend
Award recipient pressed on with emotionally tough role till he died of cancer
When Ms Chan Kim took no-pay leave in May last year to care for her boyfriend Ken who was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, she was not expecting it would be so tough emotionally.
Yet, she pressed on in the name of love, continuing to be his primary caregiver until he died last September.
For that, Assisi Hospice nominated her for The Courage Fund Healthcare Humanity Awards 2020, which recognises individuals across various categories who are role models for going the extra mile to care for and comfort the sick.
Ms Chan was a recipient under the caregiver category.
"She made sacrifices rarely seen for a young woman. We are inspired by her commitment to care and her love in action," said an Assisi Hospice spokesman.
Ms Chan told TNP she had so much to learn in the beginning, including medical terms and how to do injections, to better look after Mr Ken, who was 26 when diagnosed with cancer.
"He was a man who never failed to put others before himself... and what I've done for him cannot even compare to what he has done for me," said the 28-year-old who works in the finance industry.
The pair met in 2010 as violinists at a string ensemble exchange event between their polytechnics. "Our love for music and the violin drew us closer," said Ms Chan.
They became a couple in 2011, and years later, Mr Ken began experiencing symptoms of his condition. He learnt about the cancer through follow-ups with his doctor.
Ms Chan said: "When I learnt about his illness, I was taken aback and very sad. We had plans of travelling the world and even talked about marriage."
During Mr Ken's four months at the hospital and two months under home care, Ms Chan visited him every day after work. She later went on no-pay leave to spend more time with him.
"I wanted to stand by him for every pain, every tear and every smile," said Ms Chan, who described her boyfriend as "young, with a bright future".
She added: "He went through all sorts of cancer treatments. It was very hard for him.
"There were many times he felt like giving up, but he continued leaning on God's strength."
The couple found comfort not only in each other's company but also their faith. They enjoyed Christian music and recited Bible verses together.
After a hard-fought battle, Mr Ken's final words were short.
He held on to Ms Chan's and his mother's hands and said: "I love you."
This will mark the second Christmas Ms Chan is spending without Mr Ken.
"I just want to encourage others who are in similar situations not to give up."