Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2nd City Stop for Maximo in Malaysia – Penang, 25 – 26 Oct 2013

If you think Maximo will stop and rest after the first stop in Kota Kinabalu, we are telling you that NO, Maximo is continuing his journey reaching out to children’s heart in Malaysia.

During the recent weekend, Maximo was travelling to Penang situated in Northern Region of Malaysia, approximately 4.5 hours by road from Kuala Lumpur. Again, He was heavy. We have arranged to ship 4 boxes few days before we drove to Penang.

This time in Penang, we have 3 sessions:
·         25 Oct noon in Hospital Penang Peadiatric Ward;
·         25 Oct evening in Shu Children Bookshop;
·         26 Oct morning in Hospital Seberang Jaya Paediatric Ward

Here in this entry, I am writing about the first session in Penang - 25 Oct at Hospital Penang. 

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Hospital Penang Pediatric Ward, 25 Oct 2013

When we got to the paediatric ward, we knew we were lucky being welcomed by the warm white-uniform angels. The nurses were very proactive and supportive in helping us get a room next to the walk way of the ward, and together we turned the place into a kids room.

We started with getting the floor vacuumed, tidy up the room, temporary removing stuffs from the room to make space, putting up Maximo banners… and finally – covering the floor with bed sheets serving as mat for our little champions.

Yee Jia coordinated the sessions in Penang, and this little lady is very capable, cute and yes, tough too!

Yee Jia, tough lady :-) 
YJ and QN coordinating goodie bags

We have home-made cup cakes too! 
PT and Fan cleaning fruits - will go into goodie bag for kids

All our kids of the day are from oncology ward – so we see a mixture – some of them are stable, some are healthier compared to their friends; some walk to the rooms without needing any help while some are on wheelchair, some are coming with their IV treatment drips. Some kids are very young, and some are a little older; some are Malay, some are Chinese and some are Indians.

Regardless who they are, how their health condition is, what their age is – on that day, every child is coming to the Maximo session with hope. We from MAX and Max Family and volunteers team had a common understanding - we are very aware that we are treating every child as normal person, we are treating every child with respect, with dignity. No discrimination just because they are being diagnosed as patient.


I remember this vividly – at about 2.30pm, I went out from the room to check with the key physician, Dr Yeoh if we can start the session. Dr Yeoh told me she would want to give one last try to persuade a boy to come in. A boy who just gets his leg amputated. He refused to talk to anyone, he closed himself up, and the treating physician thinks that he started showing some symptoms of depression. I told Dr Yeoh we will wait till he come, if he willing to.

And yes, he came. A skinny boy. He was quiet. I greeted him but no response. I smiled at him, and said - “Welcome, nice meeting you.” His chose a spot which was at the last row of the room. 

Puva, a kindergarten teacher was the storyteller of the session. We showed the pictures of Maximo and the Big C story on the big screen so everyone was able to look at the illustration. The colourful illustration by Fan successfully caught attention of kids, as well as parents.

This time, after the story, Queen (supporter from Shu Chidren Bookshop in Penang) has helped us lead the art activities – making Maximo Crown!

Each kid was given the opportunity to make their own Maximo Crown, with help from mom/dad. Kids were excited and busy decorated their crown with crayons and stickers. It was a fun moment for everyone including the adults.

Now, everyone is the Maximo.

The little sparrow who is small, but brave, has get into the little one’s heart. Now, everyone is the Maximo when they put the Maximo Crown on their head, proudly take photo with it. Now, everyone feel the Maximo is with them when each of them receives the copy of Maximo in their hand, and I am sure they have also received the Maximo in their hearts.

I see the changes in the kids in these 2 hours. I see the changes in their facial expression from quiet to happy to shiny in their eyes. I see the proud parents. I see the elements of respect taking place in the room. I see that each child is given an opportunity to take control – they decorated their Crown with their favourite colours, they own their copy of Maximo. I see the bonding between a kid and his/her parent during that 2 hours. I see the relationship of an individual with another individual built.

Remember the young skinny boy that I mentioned earlier? When he was about to leave from the room back to his ward, he smiled at me, and said “Terima kasih, Kak”. It means “Thank you, Sister”. He held the copy of Maximo in his hands when we had that simple conversation. At that moment, I knew that he has gained strength from this little tiny sparrow, which was once not daring to fly…

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Volunteers, Contributors and HealthCare Team – Who have helped us in making the sessions successful

We were lucky as we had a few great volunteers and contributors supporting us in Penang. You have to know them as these are the people enabled us to put up the session.

Fan and Min Jia

Min Jia volunteered herself to be photographer, and drove us from KL to Penang. You don’t see a lot pictures with her inside, as she was busy taking pictures!

Pn Akhirul Asmah and Evelyn brought us their home-made cupcakes for the little champions. Both of them offered their contribution to us after getting to know the Maximo sessions organized for the paediatric children. Yee Jia made phone calls to both of them from MAX KL office and met them for first time when these two supporters sent the beautiful cupcakes to Penang Paediatric Ward on the event day.

Queen, Puva and MC
Queen is from Shu Children Bookstore and Puva is her friend. These two lovely ladies brought beautiful smiles to the children. No wonder “Queen” brought Maximo “Crown”.

Brandon and team – they have volunteered their time and skills in balloons sculpture. That afternoon, when we had our storytelling session in the room, Brian and team was busy preparing 50 balloons sculptures for our little champions. They have worked non-stop for the full 2 hours, to make sure the children would have bigger smile on their face.

PT and QN - These two people are our Max Family Penang contact persons. They took leave from their work on Friday for helping out during the events. Both of them also the main persons helping us to get all the goodie bags items prepared.

Mdm Cheong and his son, Jia Wei, and his husband, Mr Lee came to both sessions at Shu Book Store and Hospital Seberang Jaya showing their support and helped us in organizing the session. This lovely couple and their young son have showed us the great value of giving.

Kok Hong – another photographer of Hospital Penang session that we do not have his photo. He is too busy with photo taking.

And of course, the most important team – Dr Yeoh and her healthcare team. Dr Yeoh was busy with an emergency case during that afternoon and was unable to join the session. She dropped by just for a few minutes in between her busy schedule. We would like to say a BIG THANKS to her for giving us the opportunity in reaching out to the little champions, bringing Maximo.

To her nurses’ team who has extended great support – we say, Thank You! 

Lastly, group photo of us in Hospital Penang Maximo session - we brought Maximo to the little champions, along with all your blessings. 

From L - R: MC, Dr Razak, PT, QN, Fan, MinJia, YeeJia

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When I wrote this entry, I asked Yee Jia if she would like to share her thoughts with us - anything in her mind after the Maximo session in Penang Hospital. 

Yee Jia is 4 weeks old in MAX Malaysia office. 
For this Penang sessions, I traveled with Yee Jia from MAX Malaysia office, joint-forces with Max Family core group members and volunteers. 

This is what Yee Jia wrote: 

Joining the first event during my first month with MAX was an amazing experience.

It was a muggy Friday noon. When we arrived at Hospital Pulau Pinang, there were two angels coming to us with big friendly smiles – Sister Fiza and Suhaila have been expecting our arrival since we planned the storytelling session with their children few weeks ago.

All along our walk to paediatric wards, the dated long corridor was filled with lively energy of people. Soon we entered the world of our little fighters. Their wheelchairs are all-powerful Batmobile; the drips are mighty Spiderman Web Gun. 

These superheroes stood up proudly with their best weapons against the Big C. I would never been able to describe how brave they are in words. When they were carrying Maximo in their hands, I could see the hope and joy in their eyes.

Their laughter beamed up the sky. The dark and gloomy noon gave way to clear evening sky as we walked out the hospital. I waved. A big boy smiled back with a grin that melted my heart. 

For sure, it was an enriching trip to embark my new journey with MAX.

Yee Jia

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