Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Star

Featured in the Star newspaper today, my story & how Crafted By Mei came to be :)


Here's the link to the Star's website: 
or better yet, read this unedited version journalist Yvonne Lim wrote, which I find it much better:

PETALING JAYA: Faith, determination and family support is the drive that keeps one cancer survivor going, despite being paralysed from the waist down.

4 and a half years ago, Amelia Tan was diagnosed with advanced stage lymphoma - cancer of the lymphatic system - which rendered her wheelchair-bound, having lost function of both her legs.

Although her struggle with the disease was what she describes as the most difficult and darkest time in her life the 23-year-old said that her new-found faith after embracing Christianity while in the hospital gave her strength to keep looking moving forward.

Today, she spends all her time cheering others up with the pretty trinkets she hand-makes and sells on her thriving online blogshop called Crafted By Mei (http://craftedbymei.blogspot.com).

Tan said that prior to being diagnosed with cancer at 18, she was a normal teenager who did well in her studies, and occasionally handcrafted accessories as a hobby.
“I never thought anything like this would happen to me. One day, my back started to hurt and the pain continued for over six weeks.
“After many scans, they diagnosed me with lymphoma, but by then I already had trouble walking,” she said when met at her home where she lives with her family.
Tan said that after an operation to remove the cancer on her spine and many rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, the doctors declared her free of the disease - but the cancer had damaged her nerves, leaving her unable to walk.
“I was depressed and cried a lot. But despite all that, the love and support from my family, and faith in God brought me through,” she said, adding that after she fell sick, her mother resigned from her job as a general manager, while her older sister who was studying at the time took a year off and returned home to take care of her.
Through physiotherapy, Tan who also has a younger brother, also regained strength in her upper body and is now able to move about independently using a wheelchair.
“I had a lot of time to think during the months I spent recovering in bed and I decided that I had to rise above my present situation.
“So I created this blog and posted photos of some of my creations. People seemed to like them and started making orders, and the business just grew from there,” she said.
Tan puts together over a hundred bracelets, necklaces, earrings a month. She declined to reveal how much she earns from them, but said that it was enough to sustain the average person’s living cost for a month.
With the business growing, the whole family chips in to help.
“My dad and brother make daily trips to the post office to send the orders out, and on the weekends, the whole family sits down to put the accessories in packets and cut ribbons,” she said.
Tan described what happened to her as a “curse turned into a blessing”.
“Even though I’ve had to make major adjustments to my lifestyle, I feel very blessed and have never been happier. I feel at peace and the difficult times have brought my family closer together,” she said.
“Never give up, there is much more to life than to focus on our limitations,” she advised those in similar situations.
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” she said, quoting the Bible verse which she said inspires her most.

Video: http://videos.thestar.com.my/View.aspx?vid=8897&cid=4

Thank you for the many very encouraging emails, I will definitely reply everyone of them but do give me a bit of time, am quite overwhelmed at the response ;)

It's been a crazy 4+ years, ups & downs but I'm thankful for all the help and support I've received- 
family, friends, neighbours whom I have never known prior to this (must be those ambulances that bonded us!), Elpizo cancer support group, pastors, church friends, my physiotherapist Chelvi & team and many many more.

And then there is you! The emails & orders since 2009 that gave me many smiley days and took my focus away from self-pity parties. Being able to do this has been a huge confidence booster :)

Above all, I'm grateful to the Lord for bringing me & family to know Him through this and that His mercies are new every morning. To Him be the glory!

mei.