I asked her “What is your hope for your son?”
“I want him to be successful in everything he does”, she answered in a shaky voice.
Her eyes welled up with tears. She looked me deep into my eyes.
I then just followed my instinct and hugged her in front of about 250 audiences in the dimmed cinema hall.
That was my most memorable scene from our recent Maximize Life Campaign 2016 happened on 9 October at Malaysia. This year we featured The Max Schooling Project (a monthly financial assistance to help children of cancer patients to finish their school education) through an event named “Sharing Through Movie”. We sold tickets to the public to attend a showing of Pete’s Dragon at the cinema together with The Max Schooling Project families.
“Sharing Through Movie” is an immersion for the audience to know what it is like for patients to live with cancer and to realize it is beyond treatment.
Unlike previous years, this time, we invited some of the families who are the beneficiaries of The Max Schooling Project to share their stories. The wife of a blood cancer patient shared how cancer changes their life. She was a housewife before her husband was diagnosed with cancer. It made her started working due to the loss of income.
Before the movie shown, everyone was treated to an amazing Sepak Takraw demonstration from one of The Max Schooling Project’s kids named Nizam, a 16-year-old teenager together with two members of the audience. Nizam is an active sepak takraw player since he was 8 years old and he once represented Selangor.
|Nizam is standing in the middle. His face brightens up whenever he plays Sepak Takraw.|
When asked about what’s his dream,
“I want to become a policeman. I also want to represent Malaysia in Sepak Takraw.”
“I want to take care of my mother, and I do not want to be separated from her,” he added.
Here enjoy some captured moments of the day!
Maximize Life Campaign 2016 is special in many ways and revisit the importance of awareness campaign in connecting the public with the reality of cancer.
1. Opening a door leads to many opportunities
Apart from raising the cancer awareness, we also want this year Maximize Life Campaign to fundraise for The Max Schooling Project. Maximize Life Campaign 2015 taught us a lesson of reaching out to the corporates. Each one of us reaching out to our network, and we managed to raise about RM 18 000 from the generous donors.
What’s more important is we are able to reach out to the general public more than ever. 85 % of our audience are mainly general public and new faces. Corporates, lawyers, families, doctors, students, in fact, people from different walks of life coming together that day. By connecting with the different groups of donors, we have the opportunity to expand the circle of influence.We hope nothing more than the community will have a better perception of their roles in the cancer support. Next time when they meet cancer survivors, they know that cancer is beyond treatment. They can ask themselves how they can help to lessen the cancer burden.
|Medical students from Lincoln University|
|Lawyers and corporates|
|All who made Maximize Life Campaign 2016 a success!|
2. Maximizing the impact
Watching a movie together somehow brings all of us together and is a relatable experience. As the majority of audiences came with their family, they could connect to the struggles faced by the survivors more easily. These survivors remain the loving parents.
As for the survivors who shared their stories, a history made that day. They have never talked openly about their cancer and that day they stood in their power and shared their stories rather than get blocked by embarrassment.
Standing in front of the hall with them faced 250 nearly strangers, a lot of emotions flowing through yet they managed to speak up courageously. When the cinema hall is only lit with minimal light, I can see the courage of cancer survivors shining brightly through their nervousness, their genuineness, and their emotion.
As an emcee of the day, I concluded the day with my favourite quote of Rumi:
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
I also found a new perspective on Maximize Life Campaign. It is beyond a cancer awareness event, it can be a life-changing experience for some of us.