Ms Mary Lye
Volunteering since 2012
My name is Mary Lye, I was born in 1955. I am a cancer survivor. Many assume, “how unfortunate to have been to be diagnosed with cancer”. But to me, the experience has enlightened and taught me so much more than regarding it as just an unfortunate event.
Here is a little background about myself: I am a qualified nurse. In 1977, I was among the first batch nurses that were seconded to Singapore Fire Brigade to set up the Emergency Ambulance Service and worked alongside firemen on ambulance runs to render emergency treatment to accidents and medical emergency victims.
From 1999 to 2001, I was a volunteer at the Singapore Cancer Society’s that manned the counselling hotline and provided Hospice Home visits to terminally ill cancer patients. I stopped when I resumed full-time work as a Regional Business Development personnel in private healthcare.
After I was diagnosed with cancer, I chose to retire early to set up a Healthcare Consultancy, providing cancer counselling and helping to connect regional patients with appropriate healthcare providers in Singapore. This start-up was initiated because I wanted to help as many people as I could to seek correct treatment modalities, which brings me to why I decided to volunteer at RSVP Singapore. I have witnessed so many incidents where people tend to be very hesitant when it comes to Persons with Mental Health Issues – I thought to myself that if everyone is hesitant then nobody is going to help these people.
Since my involvement in the Mentally Disadvantaged Outreach Programme (MDOP) at Bethesda CARE Centre 242 (BCARE 242), Anglican Care Centre @ Hougang (ACC HG), and the reading session at Mobile library Institute of Mental Health (IMH), I have witnessed so many changes in the clients. Once I encountered a client at a foodcourt where I was dining, and she came with her to me. She said loudly, “Auntie Mary! I found a job. I am working already and I am so happy now and I miss you!” It was at that moment that I felt so touched and I knew I had made the right decision to have volunteered at MDOP.
Every person can make a difference and every person should try. Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, the smallest act of caring, all of which can uplift a person and turn a life around. You can be the one to step forward and offer a hand. Let us do it together.
As Mother Theresa once said: “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”Read other volunteer stories