Words from Godma Jolene...
This weblog is specially dedicated to my very good friend, Cynthia and her daughter Charmaine, who is my god daughter.
To know more about Charmaine and family, please go to http://ourfeistyprincess.com/
The initial purpose of this blog
This blog was created by me in February 2009 after Charmaine's diagnosis of neuroblastoma in the advanced stage. My intention was to use it as an avenue to update our family and friends about Charmaine's condition. It could get really difficult to update each and every concerned family member and friend and so this serve as a one-stop update for all to read.
Besides that, this blog was also used as platform for anyone who wished to share his or her stories and experience of having somebody close to them suffering from cancer. We were also specially seeking out for people to share more personal stories about neuroblastoma since it is not considered a common childhood cancer.
Fundraising among closed circle of family & friends
Cynthia is a single mother and she had to quit her job to look after Charmaine. Financially strapped, there was no way Cynthia would be able to provide for her ageing parents, pay for the house and bills and afford Charmaine's medical fees. Hence, in order for us to help Charmaine fight this cancer battle, we unabashedly reached out to our friends and people who know us to help raise funds for the substantial medical expenses and the expensive treatments.
Soon, we found Charmaine's story and this blog link being circulated via emails and popular local forums. With the influx of 3rd degree friends and strangers coming here, we experienced both love and hate. Majority of the people left lots of positive words and also offered to donate despite not knowing us personally. On the other end of the spectrum, some people wondered if this blog was a scam and accused us of being a cheat.
Charmaine's doctor suggested an alternative treatment offered in New York City which could double Charmaine's chances of survival. The drug used in the treatment is known as 3F8 which beats undergoing harsh and harmful chemotherapy. This treatment is currently not practised in Singapore yet and would cost half a million Singapore dollar.
It was a dilemma for Cynthia as she initially did not want Charmaine's story to go public. However upon much consideration, she decided she needed lots of help from the public to raise funds.
Gaining media attention
This humble blog gained media attention when we finally decided to go beyond public by agreeing to have Charmaine's story published and broadcast by local newspapers The Straits Times, The New Paper, Shin Min Daily News, Lian He Wan Bao and also radio station FM100.3. Local celebrities also helped create awareness and short clip about raising funds for Charmaine was also aired on AXN cable channel. Local soccer players and celebrities also engaged in a friendly football match which helped raised funds.
When Charmaine's plight went public, the public knew that this story was true and stopped doubting our intentions. We were really touched beyond words when we see donations and lovely words pouring in from strangers. Some of these strangers and supporters even became our friends.
Charmaine's passing on 21 October 2011
Charmaine said goodbye to us on the early morning of 21 October 2011. I'm not too sure where this blog would be heading but I'm quite sure Cynthia has got some great plans ahead.
With warmest regards,
25 October 2011