story Caleb sim

Caleb Sim

Childhood Cancer Survivor

I could vaguely remember that I was only 13 years old when the doctor diagnosed me with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. He said that it is a type of cancer that affects the body’s lymphatic system. Since the lymphatic system is the body’s transport system for infection-fighting white blood cells, the cancer was destroying my immune system.

By then, my cancer had already advanced to Stage 4, where it had spread to other parts of my body. The cure rate was supposed to be like around 50% to 60% and my risk of dying was very high. To me, I was not sure how death would be like. Would it be painful? Is it like closing your eyes to sleep and never waking up?

My parents did not lose hope. They brought me to the VIVA University Children’s Cancer Centre (VUC3) where I immediately began treatment as a subsided patient. I stayed at the inpatient ward for four months on-and-off and underwent many sessions of chemotherapy. I guess that my body must be responding well to the treatment, since I subsequently went back as an outpatient for my follow-up checks and treatments.

I have fond memories of VUC3, including the friends I made there. No doubt the treatment was very painful and unpleasant. But with encouragement from my family and the doctors, nurses and staff at VUC3, I was able to keep a very positive attitude and pull through the awful side effects of the treatment. Under the conscientious care of Dr Allen Yeoh and the nurses, I received a new combination of antibody therapy on top of the standard chemotherapy treatment, which went on to improve my chances of cure.


I was not sure how death would be like. Would it be painful?
Is it like closing your eyes to sleep and never waking up?



During my recovery process, I attended PALS school at the VIVA-CCF Hub for 4 months. Back then, my body’s immunity was very low and I could be easily infected by common germs and bacteria due to both my cancer and the treatment. Attending school outside was out of the question. PALS was an awesome place where I regained focus on my studies, played many fun games and made new friends with other children with cancer.

In October 2014, my battle with cancer came to an end after 16 months of pain and tears, I am finally cured. My dream came true. Today, I am a 16-year-old regular boy attending Fairfield Methodist Secondary School. I enjoy playing video games and reading comic books after school each day.