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He's regained hope, thanks to para-athlete

SHOWING THE WAY: When Mr Tan saw Ms Aishah enter his ward, he was moved to tears. His hands and feet have to be amputated.


    Aug 18, 2015

    He's regained hope, thanks to para-athlete

    WHEN he was told by doctors just before National Day that his hands and feet had to be amputated, Tan Whee Boon's world all but collapsed around him.

    Speaking to The New Paper (TNP) last week, the 50-year-old technician said he had "no more future", as he could not imagine a life without his limbs.

    With his hands and feet blackened after his battle against bacterial infections, Mr Tan also had little hope for the future of his wife and two children, aged 14 and 15.

    But thanks to a visit from national para-athlete Aishah Samad on Saturday, Mr Tan has regained hope.

    Ms Aishah, who lost her hands and feet in 2012 after a bacterial infection, had gone to visit Mr Tan after reading the TNP report about his condition and mental anguish.

    When Mr Tan saw Ms Aishah, 43, enter his ward in her wheelchair, he was moved to tears.

    He said: "When I saw her smiling and talking to me, I knew it was possible to have a future.

    "To actually meet someone who has gone through what I'm going through - it's comforting to know there is hope."

    Three days before he was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Mr Tan had eaten a raw fish dish, or yusheng, at a food centre in Chinatown.

    The hospital's medical team said it is still looking into any possible link between Mr Tan's condition and the raw fish he had eaten.

    Ms Aishah's limbs had to be amputated in 2012 after she suffered an infection during a trip to China.

    After that, the single mother of two struggled to get her life back together.

    Actions that used to be simple for her, such as brushing her teeth and drinking from a cup, became daily struggles.

    In an earlier interview with TNP, Ms Aishah, who won the SEA Games shooting bronze medal in 2003, admitted that she had contemplated suicide at the time but realised "it wouldn't be fair to my family and friends who stood by me".

    She found her motivation after her sister showed her videos of Serbian-Australian motivational speaker Nick Vujicic, who was born without limbs. "I saw how he was living life to the fullest and I learnt to take things positively," she said.

    On Saturday, Ms Aishah, who won a shooting gold at the recent National Disability League in Singapore and is headed for the International Paralympic Committee Shooting World Cup next month, knew she had to return the favour to Mr Tan.

    She said: "We both (have) to amputate the same limbs due to a bacterial infection and we both have two children to care for.

    "I understand what he's going through and that's why I want to show Mr Tan that he will be able to pull through this."

    His wife, Choong Siet Mei, 47, was also thankful for Ms Aishah's visit.

    Said Madam Choong, a housewife: "When I saw Aishah, I felt so relieved. She made me feel that things were going to be okay."

    Talking to Ms Aishah about her experiences has helped Mr Tan immeasurably.

    He said: "I kept thinking of all the questions and doubts I had, but after seeing her and listening to her experience, I don't have anything left to wonder about."

    Mr Tan added that he was touched by the tremendous amount of support that he and his family have received from the public.

    "I never would have expected to receive so much help from people.

    "Everything that's happening now really encourages me not to give up."