MS Care’s eighth year celebrations was a sincere time of fellowship and fun between clients and dedicated volunteers.
Contributed By Jonathan Teo
MS Care volunteers and clients had a “smurfy” good time at KBox Cineleisure, celebrating eight years of friendship. Themed “SMURF,” short for “Smile More, You Are Fabulous,” the anniversary event aimed to add fun and laughter to the clients’ lives and to encourage them to smile more.
An arm under City Harvest Community Services Association, MS Care provides support services to help individuals battling multiple sclerosis—a disease that affects the central nervous system—pursue a better quality of life. Volunteers provide moral support and a listening ear to clients whenever there is a need, at the same time conduct weekly visitations to let them know that there are people in the community who care for them.
MS Care has come a long way since its inception in 2004. Through the years, this support group has also provided outreach programs such as educational seminars and activities. While the primary aim of these programs is to help clients gain a sense of acceptance and self-worth, they also provide many opportunities for interaction between the volunteers and clients. The journey has been a heart-warming one for both clients and volunteers as they have developed meaningful friendships through the years.
Amelia Mok, a volunteer coordinator, feels that MS Care has grown tremendously year after year. She is grateful to the clients who have opened up their lives to the volunteers, allowing them to visit and befriend them. “I think over the past eight years, MS Care has become a part of me. The clients are like family to me, and the volunteers who have been here since the beginning are also very close to me. We’re very close-knit, like a family, and we understand each other. I’m very glad that I was able to be part of the process and the progress in the past eight years. I never take for granted the closeness and wonderful moments we have had the privilege of sharing with the patients,” shared Mok. There is no known cure for MS, but even though patients deteriorate, good care and support can go a long way in ensuring quality of life.
The MS patients receiving the care share the same sentiments as Mok. One client, who cannot be named, is full of gratitude towards Eric Tan, the volunteer who has helped him through his most difficult moments. Besides showing the care and concern towards this client, Tan has also helped him find a job. Over and above the practical help that Tan has given him, this client is most happy and appreciative of the friendship he has forged with Tan over the years.
MS Care commemorated its eighth year in community service with a get-together, and the focus this year was on the bonds of friendship between volunteers and clients. A total of 66 clients and volunteers gathered in the early afternoon on Oct. 29 for a time of fellowship, food and fun.
The celebration started with a sumptuous lunch buffet, with Smurf cartoons playing on the big screen. Volunteers and clients fell into small groups naturally, chatting easily and catching up with one another. Following lunch was a string of light-hearted programs prepared by the volunteers which included a highly-entertaining fusion-Asian dance performance. Clients roared with laughter watching volunteers-turned-dancers in a costume mash-up—cowboy hats met Indian salwar kameez and Chinese qi-pao—doing their best to dance to the beat.
A karaoke challenge—a perennial favorite—was next, providing the stage for secret divas to shine. A few of the braver clients took stage performing many chart-topping Chinese songs. Audiences cheered and clapped to the beat of the faster numbers and waved dramatically at the ballads creating concert-like atmosphere in the karaoke room. If there was a moment in which the spirit of MS Care was captured, this would have been it.
At the end of the four-hour celebration, the guests each left with a foldable water bottle, a gift to appreciate their time at the event. A special gift was also presented to the doctors who played an important role in the welfare of the clients. More than the gifts, every guest brought home the joy of friendship and the hope of many more good years ahead.