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Message from BTSS President, Melissa Lim

Dear BTSS Family,

About this time last year, we abruptly cancelled our Chinese New Year support group meeting and customary “Lohei”. In addition, our 6th Founder’s Day celebration scheduled in March 2020 and Brainy Car Rally in Nov 2020 were scrapped.

In response, BTSS very quickly instituted our ZOOM support group meetings under the leadership of committee member, Peter Koh. With the assistance of volunteers Katherine Chin and William Seah, our Support Group Team has been able to reach out to many new members and refer them to receive practical assistance through BTSS counselling and welfare programmes.

BTSS worked closely with NCSS to distribute COVID-19 care packages and masks donated by thoughtful members of our community.  We also moved our Medical Talks online, covering topics like ‘Brain Tumours and COVID-19’ and ‘Side Effects of BT Treatments’.  To maintain engagement with our community, we started BTSS Birthday Blessings under the leadership of committee member, Nam, who is assisted by volunteer William Seah.

With our Fund Raising severely affected by the pandemic, BTSS launched a digital campaign based on the inspiring life story of our committee member, Shawn Low, on Facebook and YouTube. The funds raised are still modest and we appreciate your kind support to share our campaign and donate generously towards our establishment and programmes.

Several community events were facilitated through ZOOM. Towards the end of 2020, we were able to resume small group events such as the local tours while our youths also organised 2 small group outings. We are planning to organise some interesting small group events in March 2021 in celebration of our 7th Founder’s Day. Watch out for more details!

The greatest impact of COVID-19 restrictions has been on those who are newly diagnosed, those undergoing active treatments and facing relapses. Thanks to BTSS WhatsApp groups, these members have been able to receive peer support in their toughest times. To encourage and facilitate even more discussion and interaction, BTSS will activate a BTSS Facebook Community Group in April 2021.

Behind the scenes in 2020, BTSS Senior Manager, Jackie Lee, had been busy working with the EXCO to set-up our financial and governance systems. Jackie has requested to step down as an employee of BTSS on 28 Feb 2021 to focus her attention on her family. Thankfully, Jackie will remain with BTSS as an EXCO member. The EXCO has decided to split her portfolio between 2 new executives. Ms Crystal Tan is currently on a WSG Career Trial with us and will join as a Finance and Governance Executive on a part-time work arrangement in March. Our new Programme Executive, Ms Janie Joseph, will join BTSS full-time on 15 March 2021. In a nutshell, Crystal will process all members’ grant applications and claims while Janie will be point of liaison for members, volunteers and partners for BTSS online and in-person events and programmes.

The mission of BTSS has always been ‘Connecting to Befriend, Enable and Empower’ so that we can walk with every brain tumour patient and family at every stage of their brain tumour journey. With increased manpower capacity, BTSS is looking forward to adding more value to our members and supporters through better outreach and governance.

In closing, although it was a challenging disease that has brought us together, we have built a meaningful   supportive community that has been conferred the Inspirational Patient Group Award by Singapore Health in 2020. Indeed, having a brain tumour does not limit our capacities to live life well, as many in our community have shown from their inspiring examples. I encourage our amazing BTSS community to grow in our core values of Benevolence, Thoughtfulness, Spiritedness and Service to be more and do more for ourselves, our families, our community and country.

 

 

 

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Kampong Tour 5 Dec 2020

A nostalgic walk into the days before HDB flats became the standard of housing in Singapore awaited 5 BTSS families on the cherry morning of 5 Dec 2020.  Led by Mr Yap of Let’s Go Tours, we discovered the last surviving kampong in Singapore – Kampong Lorong Buangkok.  This village is smacked in the middle of modern developments but once you enter it, you are greeted with a kind of serene and laidback feel.  Through the 2 hour tour, the engaging Mr Yap fed us with history of the area and offered insights into the villagers’ life while we walked through the village.  To let us immerse in kampong life, we played old school games like zero point and marbles.  For majority of the kids in our tour, it was the first time playing them, and everyone had fun!  To round off the tour, we were invited to a Muslim home and treated to homemade ice pops (the traditional one whereby they are made by tying a rubber band at the end of the plastic bag) – a first for many too!

Despite the social distancing rules we had to observe, I really enjoyed the tour and am so thankful to see the other BTSS families again.

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BTSS x Solaris Games Day 7 Sep 2020

A group of student volunteers from Hwa Chong Institution turned an otherwise quiet September school holiday fun for our young BTSS members.  On 7 September 2020, 9 of our children participated in a virtual games event specially designed by the volunteers.  Through the games, they went around the world, challenged one another in a “Where’s Wally?” type of hunt and mused over the varied riddles thrown at them.  As an observer of the event, I found myself having fun and felt like a kid all over again.  Big THANK YOU to Ian, Bingyan, Dylan, Wen Yao and Yi Zhong!

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BTSS feature in Singapore Health newspaper

This article appears in the September-October 2020 issue of Singapore Health newspaper, a Singapore General Hospital and SingHealth publication.

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BTSS Celebrates National Day 2020

Not wanting their National Day to quietly slipped away, a group of our young beneficiaries jumped onto the Zoom platform to partake in virtual games organized by our amazing volunteers.  The volunteers brought them through landmarks of Singapore with a guessing game and guided them through a digital drawing session to see who could draw the Merlion best.  More fun ensued when they tried to outwit each other in digital Pictionary.  Though most of the kids were camera and microphone shy, their inhibitions were loosened up through the constant virtual chats, and 2.5 hours went by too quickly.

BIG thank you to our volunteers for making this National Day special for us!

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BTSS Inaugural e-Forum

‘Healthcare for Brain Tumour Patients during COVID-19 Crisis’. 😷👨‍⚕

If you missed our first e Forum on 16 May 20, you can access a recording of this informative dialogue on

https://youtu.be/goAo6RU2NBM

BTSS thanks our medical advisors, Dr Enrica Tan (KKH), Dr Kevin Chua (NCCS), Dr David Low (NNI), Prof Yeo Tseng Tsai and Dr Vincent Nga (NUH) for taking the time to enlighten us on how Singapore hospitals are adapting to provide a good quality of care to brain tumour patients while also ensuring our well being during the COVID-19 crisis.

BTSS also want to thank those who have take the time to ‘attend’ the eForum. We are encouraged to hear that many of you found the session informative and helpful 🤩

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Be a Mathemagician!

BTSS was privileged to have coach Priya spend a morning with 10 of our kids on 21 May 2020 over ZOOM video conferencing.  It was a break from this unique lull school holiday season.  In over an hour, coach Priya showed and taught the kids the mathematics behind a trick.  Even though this was the first time that a BTSS kids event has been held virtually, there was little hiccups and everyone participated actively.  It was a productive morning and the kids can’t wait for their second session with coach Priya next week!  Thank you coach Priya for sharing your love for BTSS!

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