A teacher’s support that made a difference
TEACHERS have the amazing power to change their students’ lives for the better with their passion and sincerity.
Some of them even go the extra mile offering love and support in times of need, much like a teacher we talked with recently who was on her student’s side in the battle against cancer.
Dr Bamini KPD Balakrishnan, a senior lecturer at University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Business, Economics and Accountancy Faculty, did a very special thing in support for one of her students. Bamini’s caregiver duties kicked in when her 20-year-old student, Richelle Hii Hua Yin, was diagnosed with Stage Three bone cancer in February this year.
On July 11, she decided to show Richelle she would always be there for her, leading Bamini to shave her head bald.
A lecturer and caregiver
“It is my form of empathy. I wanted to empower her, I wanted to let her know she can be strong and it’s okay to be without hair, it’s okay to feel vulnerable. We are still beautiful even without hair. I told her that I wanted to go on this journey with her.”
Bamini sent Richelle a picture of her freshly bald head at the salon, reducing Richelle to tears. Bamini was even more grateful because the hairstylist who shaved her head refused to accept money when she discovered her reason.
“The salon was close to the hospital so patients undergoing chemotherapy would come in to shave their heads, so she would shave them for free. The hairstylist would tell them to come back once they are healthy so that she can give them a new hair makeover.”
Bamini’s act did not go unnoticed. UMS was also very supportive of her actions and were very understanding. According to her, whenever her dean knows she will be going to the hospital to visit Richelle, he would come along.
Showing her support
Bamini’s caregiver duties did not just stop there. She went and spoke to each of Richelle’s lecturers and explained her condition. She also ensures that Richelle’s group members would help her out with her assignments. Additionally, Bamini also makes a point to call her on a weekly basis.
Richelle is s a bright and active student who obtained excellent results in her first semester, according to Bamini. She has a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.6 and was also a member of the Police Undergraduate Voluntary Corp (Suksis).
“What really touches my heart is how she would constantly thank me. Even though she in such a tough situation, she is always grateful.”
People often ask Bamini why she puts herself through all that, and her answer is always a simple one.
“I look at all my students as if they are my own kids,” she smiles warmly.
The journey ahead
Richelle’s orthopedic surgeon worries the cancer might spread further, and that the only way to lower that risk is to amputate Richelle’s affected leg.
“She keeps requesting the doctor to postpone the amputation. I do my best to comfort her but I advise her to take up the surgery as I do not want the cancer to spread. It is indeed a decision that takes a lot of mental strength. But I will always be there to support her,” Bamini says in absolution.
We pray for Richelle’s continuous strength as she braves through this trying time, and hope she recovers fully.— The Health