HE TAKES PATIENTS TO HOSPITAL
ABDUL RAZAK, 50, PATIENT TRANSPORTER
For the past 13 years, the father of three has given many cancer patients a shoulder to cry on. His face is the first one they see when they head to the hospital for chemotherapy or radiation treatment. He’s also the last person they encounter from the hospital when they’re going home, because Razak drives a van for the Singapore Cancer Society, ferrying sick patients between their homes and the hospital. “When I first started this job, I was shocked to see how physically weak the patients were and how depressed they were. I shed many tears for them, and I decided to make the best use of my short time with them in the van. I greet them with a smile and crack jokes to win them over. I want them to feel comfortable. I believe that if they stay happy, their health may improve.
I interact with all sorts of cancer patients but my experience with one woman, who had advanced breast cancer in her early 30s and died from it, despite intensive treatment, stays with me. Day by day, I could see the physical changes afflicting her – she became pale and haggard, and her face had red spots from the treatment. When her husband called to tell me that she had passed on, I was really, really sad.
This job has its share of good and bad moments. But the good things I get to do far outweigh the fleeting sadness I may feel. I’m overjoyed when cancer survivors still remember me and call out when they see me. I feel proud that I have made an impact on their lives, no matter how small.”