Cancer surviver raising funds for others to survive

Cancer surviver raising funds for others to survive
Gale Ng, commercial manager, survived stage 4 breast cancer and now is running for the Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer to raise funds for those struggling with the high expenses of cancer treatment.
Photo: The New Paper

She was cleared of cancer only at the end of last year.

Two months later, commercial manager Gale Ng, 32, started training for the Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer.

She started rebuilding her strength, first by going for daily brisk walks, then 5km runs, progressing to 10km and 15km.

"I didn't know if I was doing the right thing. I had just recovered, yet I was pushing my body to the limit. My husband and mother-in-law were very loving and supportive so I felt bad because what if I was wrong?" she told The New Paper.

Ms Ng was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in July 2014 and went through chemotherapy until May last year.

"It was a wake-up call as I have always taken my health for granted and led a sedentary life," she said.

"But having struggled with the high expenses of cancer treatment, I know how difficult it is. So, I want to help others who are facing the same predicament and not have the means to pay."

Her treatment almost wiped her out financially.

She paid $80,000 for six cycles of chemotherapy, followed by six more months of maintenance chemotherapy.

Counting herself blessed, she decided to run the race on Sunday to raise funds for needy cancer patients.

"Cancer treatment is expensive and for anyone to make a life-and-death decision because of finances is heartbreaking. I knew how it felt because I was at that level too. As much as I have the will to live, I cannot deny the fact that without money I would have died if I could not afford treatment," she said.

About 35 new cases of cancer are diagnosed every day.

If a Singapore cancer patient runs out of funds halfway through treatment, he or she can seek the option of going to one of the government restructured hospitals for treatment.

Standard medication is available at heavily subsidised rates. In the case of non-standard items, such as targeted agents against specific cancer genes, patients can often get financial aid through the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS).

Ms Ng's cancer is now "technically in remission", making her comfortable to take to the road to help raise funds for SCS.

Having overcome her cancer to be fit and run the race, Ms Ng is also sponsored by the Friends of Soleus programme which identifies and sponsors Singaporean runners who have persevered through overwhelming odds to be fit.

At first, Ms Ng planned to run the race alone, but her husband, Mr Ryan Toh, also 32, who works in the mining industry, decided to run with her.

"Throughout the healing journey, people think that it's only the cancer patient who suffers. Not true. Our loved ones also suffer. I am thankful my husband and in-laws stood by me in my time of need," she said.

In 2014, the Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer raised $1 million , but the race was cancelled last year due to the haze.

About Race against cancer

The Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) Race Against Cancer

Launched in 2008, the race returns for the eighth time with two competitive categories - the 10km and 15km Competitive Runs and a 5km Fun Run.

When: Sunday

Where: East Coast Park, Angsana Green

Goal: $1 million for cancer programmes and services

How to participate or donate: Registration for the race has closed. You may donate through Ms Gale Ng's fundraising platform at Give Asia:

Or donate at the Singapore Cancer Society's donation link:

This article was first published on July 1, 2016.
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