Singapore— It’s not every day that the President of Singapore writes about a graduate of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on her Facebook account, but Felicia Lim has a very special story.
Ms Lim, who was featured on President Halimah Yacob’s Facebook feed on July 24, the day after she graduated from NTU, is a shining example of triumph over adversity. A photo accompanying the President’s post shows a smiling Ms Lim as she is handed her diploma.
Met Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) graduate Felicia Lim at the convocation ceremony yesterday (23…
The President wrote, “Met Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) graduate Felicia Lim at the convocation ceremony yesterday (23 July).
Felicia had Arteriovenous Malformation, an abnormal tangle of blood vessels since birth. In 2017, she suffered from two brain haemorrhages, which affected the mobility of her left arm and leg. She had to defer her studies for a year to undergo treatment and rehabilitation to regain her mobility. Felicia now uses an elbow crutch and foot support to help in her mobility. I am glad that Felicia did not give up, and has overcome all odds to complete her studies.
Congratulations on your graduation, Felicia! I hope you can continue to pursue your passion and career in the healthcare and social service sector.”
Moreover, Ms Lim’s inspiring story was also featured in The New Paper (TNP) where details of her condition and how she overcame it are given.
Ms Lim’s father first brought her to Changi General Hospital in April 2017 when she realised that she could not move her right arm.
At this point, she was only two months shy of graduating from NTU.
The medical exams showed that she had a brain bleed because of an abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins that disrupts normal blood flow and oxygen circulation, known as an arteriovenous malformation. While she had actually been born with this condition, nobody in her family was aware of it since she was asymptomatic.
Ms Lim, now 25, told TNP that for a brain haemorrhage to occur was “just a matter of time” because of this condition. And right before she was scheduled for the surgery at Tan Tock Seng Hospital to address it, the suffered from another brain haemorrhage, which left her with numbness in her left foot.
After emergency surgery was performed, she could no longer move her left leg.
Although she suffered no cognitive deficits, Ms Lim decided to defer her studies, having been advised by her doctors to “just focus on recovery.”
However, she needed hours of intensive therapy in order to walk again.
But perseverance paid off, and she was able to resume her classes at NTU after one year, allowing her to graduate this year. She still goes to therapy thrice a week, however, and uses a foot support and elbow crutch to move about independently.
The new graduate, who earned a bachelor’s degree in information engineering and media, is being given job support by SPD, a group whose aim is to help those with disabilities navigate their way in mainstream society. And as the President mentioned, she hopes to work in healthcare or social services.
She told TNP, “Although I was a bit disappointed that my peers were graduating without me, this was a blessing in disguise. I realised life is really fragile, and am thankful for this second chance at life.”/ TISG
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