SHE GIVES PATIENTS HOPE
KATE WONG, 72, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR
This ex-kindergarten principal may be in her golden years, but she has the energy and spirit of someone much younger. When she was struck with breast cancer in 2002, at age 61, the feisty woman stared it in the face by removing her entire right breast. Kate has been cancer-free since then and is now embracing life to the fullest. “Cancer was my wake-up call. It made me realise that my health was more important than money and prestige. So I quit my stressful job and have been smelling the roses, doing only things that I want to do. I have to take responsibility for my own health – no one else can do that for me.
I came out stronger after my close brush with death. After that, I wanted to share my experience with other breast cancer survivors. I know what it is like to have your whole world collapse when you’re first diagnosed, to feel lost and alone. I know the importance of having a good support system when this happens.
I want to bring back people’s smiles. When I meet depressed breast cancer patients and tell them that I’m a survivor too, they often say: ‘Wow, you look so healthy!’ Then they open up to me and tell me their problems. There was this woman who used to cry each time I saw her. She’s single and felt that cancer had ended her life. I went up to her and told her, ‘Hey, I’m a breast cancer survivor and like you, I’m single too!’ She now smiles a lot more.
When I am able to give them a ray of hope, I find it very rewarding. To me, cancer is not a death sentence. It’s a life sentence, as it helps you to push on with your life.”