Describe the biggest challenge in your life.

I had a pampered and protected childhood. As the youngest daughter, I was the princess and prima donna of our family. I usually got what I wanted, much to the envy of my two brothers and a sister.

When I was ten years of age, I had an illness with strange symptoms such as giddiness, tiredness and nausea. Apart from that, I also had unusual bruising and a cut on my finger that would not stop bleeding. Extremely apprehensive of my condition, my parents brought me to hospital, where I underwent tests. A few days later, I was diagnosed with leukaemia.

When the doctor broke the bad news to me and my parents, we were flabbergasted. My parents had never expected me to have blood cancer. I could not even accept the news.

"How could this be?" I exclaimed in disbelief. "What have I done to deserve this?"

When the doctor said that I had only fifty chance of survival, I started to breakdown and cry.

That day when we went home, I felt like the end of the world was coming. I began throwing tantrums. Locking myself in my bedroom, I wept and refused to see anyone. I did not want to eat anything too. My parents, siblings, relatives and friends talked to me outside my bedroom door. After some time, they managed to cajole me into opening the door. In my room, they comforted me and emphasised that they cared for me and loved me very much. They also assured me that I was not alone in the battle against the disease and they would always support me and be with me all through the fight for survival. Their assurance and encouragement touched me deeply and I finally accepted the facts. With teary eyes, I thanked them for standing by my side and for giving me the strength to carry on.

The next day, I was admitted to hospital, where I was being treated almost immediately. Tubes were being inserted all over my body. I had to undergo eight operations and five bouts of chemotherapy. I experienced quite a number of side effects, including the lack of appetite, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation and hair loss. My skin was itchy, dry and red while my nails became yellow and cracked. My aunt almost fainted when she came to visit me and saw me pulling out my hair!

During my treatment period at hospital, a religious friend of mine came to see me. She introduced me to her religion. I was glad to be able to turn to God for spiritual comfort.

I was hospitalised for six months. Now I am aged seventeen. I am thankful that I have been cured of the sickness and it has never relapsed since the completion of my treatment. I have to go for regular checkups, though. I owe those around me a great debt of gratitude. Without their love, encouragement and moral support, I doubt if I would be able to make it. Through the biggest challenge of my life, I have learnt to become stronger in many ways. I have also learnt the importance of living life to the full.