Happy Birthday, Hodgegirl!

It doesn’t seem like such a long time ago when we braved Orchard Road, probably Singapore’s busiest, with its throng of shoppers, just to get to the hospital.

It was a busy Christmas eve when our Hodgegirl decided to meet the world and become our best Christmas present.
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Sixteen years later, she has gifted us, her family, as well as friends and other people, with the inspiration of her strength and courage through an agonizing 6-month cancer journey. As she goes for radiation everyday, the ride is far from over and yet she seems to have remained unfazed by it all.

I used to get angry and frustrated over the whole situation, feeling that my daughter has been robbed of her childhood, unable to experience the joys of spending the final year of high school with friends with hardly a care in the world except for those things that teenagers do worry about. As we went through this journey, however, I realized that Hodgegirl, despite cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation, has remained her usual positive self. She still worries about those teenage concerns, spends time with friends (provided they’re not sick), attends selected school events, and is working on her college plans. As a matter of fact, just a few days ago, she got her first college acceptance.

At the risk of sounding overly biased and proud, she’s nothing short of amazing. I continue to worry (a lot!) about her everyday yet she consistently reminds me, with her behavior and actions, that she’s ok. Many Christmases after her birth, next to Christ’s birth, she’s still our best gift ever.

Happy birthday, sweet Ri!
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