In early 2013, Dawn was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a rare type of cancer that affects the surrounding tissues of the lip and nasal area of the face. While the disease may have changed the way she looks, it has not changed the way she looks at life.
Dawn proudly holds up a framed portrait of herself – a studio photograph taken just a few years ago. Now, she is 84 years old. Dawn is happy to say she has found joy and meaning in growing older gracefully. “Most of the ageing process is all in the mind. If you think and start acting old, you age much faster and [actually] become old. But I love the sense of maturity age brings,” shares Dawn.
Working as a nurse all her life has instilled in her a natural tendency to routinely give and care for others. She speaks English, Malay and Chinese fluently, and is ever ready to offer a listening ear to the fellow cancer patients she meets at the oncology ward. They all seem to gravitate towards her motherly manner.
“Create good karma daily. Remember that what you give determines what you get back,” she advises. She is glad to have lived a good life. Her experiences have helped her find her own way of dealing with the many challenges she has to confront with her illness.
Besides leaning on her daughter Sheela and two grandchildren for support, Dawn has found a happy companionship in the form of a furry friend who is more than thrilled to be showered with love and attention.