Issuu on Google+

today • Wednesday 8 May 2013

23

health

Overcoming disability

Giving up is not an option for this amputee Eveline Gan

eveline@mediacorp.com.sg SINGAPORE — “What do you know about being an amputee?” That is the bitter retort Mr Abdul Alim frequently gets whenever he counsels people who have undergone limb amputations. “Many can’t tell that I am like them when I’m in long pants. They probably don’t expect an amputee to look active and fit either, so they think I’m talking nonsense,” said the 39-year-old sales representative, smiling. The cynical ones are often rendered speechless when Mr Alim rolls up his pants to show them his prosthetic leg. Mr Alim has overcome his disability against all odds, as he is able to cycle like other able-bodied cyclists by pedalling with an artificial limb. On June 21, he will participate in Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s (TTSH) Charity Ride in Bintan (see box). Together with other cyclists, Mr Alim hopes to

raise S$300,000 to improve the quality of life of TTSH’s less privileged patients. He will be tackling a 60km cycling route that includes hilly terrain. In spite of his cheerful disposition, Mr Alim once experienced despair and hopelessness after losing his right leg in a road accident in 2002. He was only 28 then. His leg could not be salvaged and had to be amputated three inches below the knee when an infection set in weeks after the accident. In that instant, Mr Alim, who used to do competitive sports in school, said he also lost his social life, friends and the ability to do the sports he loved. However, he did not wallow in selfpity for long. Using a prosthetic leg, he learnt to walk again — in baby steps — but was unable to continue doing sports. Two years later after doing extensive research, the former technician decided to go through another round of amputation so he could continue to pursue recreational and

TTSH Charity Ride Bintan 2013 TTSH is looking for 169 cyclists to participate in its charity ride in Bintan on June 21 to raise funds for needy patients. Experienced and recreational cyclists have three routes to choose from — the Fun30km for those seeking a nice scenic ride, the Explore60km or the gruelling Challenge145km route, which spans over two days. Cyclists need to meet a minimum fund-raising amount to participate. For details, visit http://www.ttsh.com.sg/charityride2013/. Mr Abdul Alim is able to cycle by pedalling with an artificial limb. Photo: OOI BOON KEONG

competitive running and cycling using a specialised prosthesis. This time, another three inches of his leg, including the knee, was removed. Mr Alim’s painful decision paid off. Today, he runs marathons and cycles like other able-bodied athletes. Besides devoting his time to training and his family, the father of two also

volunteers to counsel and support patients who have recently undergone limb amputations. “I’ve met many amputees who lose hope and may even be suicidal. But I tell them that things will eventually get better. Look at me — I’ve got my life back and even started my own family after losing a limb,” he said.


Overcoming Disability