A single mum's determination to beat her little boy's cancer
When Bei Bei's 6-year-old son Jefferson complained of a tummy ache one day, little did she know it was due to stage 4 cancer. Read more about it here...
Bei Bei is a 27-year-old single mummy to three beautiful children, Joel Low Yong Xing (11 years old), Jumica Tan Jia (7 years old) and Jefferson Tan Wei Jie (6 years old).
On October 24, 2014, Bei Bei took her youngest son to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital after he complained of a bad tummy ache.
She never expected to hear what doctors told her after examining her little one. Jefferson was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer -- Wilms’ Tumour to be precise.
For Bei Bei, it was the worst day of her life. How could her little boy who was happy and healthy all this time now have stage 4 cancer?
But she was determined to do whatever it took to stay strong and help little Jefferson fight the battle of his life.
What is Wilms’ Tumour?
According to medical experts at Mayo Clinic, Wilms' tumour is a rare cancer of the kidneys that mainly affects children.
Also known as nephroblastoma, it is actually the most common cancer of the kidneys among little ones. Wilms’ tumour is usually found in just one kidney, though it occurs in both occasionally.
On a positive note, medical experts also say that this is one of the most curable cancers and the outlook for most kids with this kind of tumour is very good.
A brave little boy
The tumour was found on just one of Jefferson's kidneys. At that point, doctors told Bei Bei that her little boy had a 70% chance of full recovery if the surgeries for removing the tumour and the affected kidney combined with chemotherapy treatment went well.
With pain in her eyes, Bei Bei described how the first 2 of the 7 rounds of chemotherapy that came before the surgeries terrified Jefferson so much that he had to be physically held down in order for it to be administered.
By the time the third round of chemotherapy came around, though, he had already quietly accepted it. One of his kidneys and the tumour were also surgically removed.
At this point, Bei Bei was quietly hopeful that this nightmare was finally over and that her little boy would soon be on the road to recovery.
The second blow
Just as Bei Bei thought the worst was over for her boy, she was dealt with another devastating piece of news – the tumour had spread to Jefferson’s chest.
So then began more aggressive chemotherapy treatment, this time on a weekly basis to try and get rid of the cancer in this brave little boy’s chest.
In a matter of a few months, this little boy and his young mum’s worlds were turned upside down, not just due to the cancer, but also because Joel and Jumica (Bei Bei's other children) had to be sent to stay with their grandmother.
This was the only way the siblings could continue their lives with some sense of normalcy. It was also a way to protect Jefferson from infections, as his immune system had been weakened with the cancer and the many rounds of chemotherapy.
Jefferson was scheduled to have a CT and ultrasound on the 30th of January 2015 to find out if he would need more chemotherapy and radiotherapy, or if further surgery would have to be done to remove the tumour.
However, these scans could not go ahead as planned due to his low blood-count, according to Bei Bei.
As you can imagine, a great source of anxiety for Bei Bei and her family upon the initial cancer diagnosis was the cost of keeping the cancer at bay and of course general living expenses, as Bei Bei had to stop working in order to provide full-time care for little Jefferson.
However, she is fortunate that both KK Women's and Children's Hospital and the National Council of Social Service in Singapore (NCSS) stepped up to cover the full cost of Jefferson's medical expenses.
An industrious mum
Yes, fate had dealt a cruel blow to this young mum and her little boy. But Bei Bei certainly didn't crumble in the face of such adversity.
She is a talented baker, so she has now put those skills to use to earn money for her day-to-day expenses, which includes looking after her other kids.
Over the past few week, Bei Bei kept herself busy baking delicious pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year.
While she did take orders for her tarts initially, she is currently holding off orders due to an overwhelming response from people who came forward and ordered from her in order to help her take care of her son.
Other than pineapple tarts, Bei Bei also bakes a variety of other yummy goods, including milk cookies and cashew nut cookies.
You can still buy these from her after the busy CNY period by giving her a call on 8558 3599.
Jefferson turns six in March this year.
Here’s wishing this brave young boy makes a full recovery, and celebrates his birthday in the way every little boy should – happy, healthy and loved.
theAsianparent wishes Bei Bei and her family all the very best. Dear readers, please post your messages of strength and encouragement to Bei Bei and Jefferson in the comment box below – it will mean a lot to them and their family.