Cindy Goh was like any regular teenager – active, cheerful and full of life.
Cindy Goh was like any regular teenager – active, cheerful and full of life. What happened one night in October 2006 changed it all.
She had been out celebrating the end of her school examinations with a night out cycling with friends when the unexpected happened. The then 15-year-old did not see a lorry illegally parked on the road and crashed into it. The accident left Cindy with serious spinal cord injuries. She was in a coma for two weeks and when she awoke, she was devastated at losing her ability to walk and her independence.
Due to the severity of her injuries, Cindy’s road to recovery took almost two years. She had to stop school to recuperate through hospital rehabilitation and home rest. After the accident, her mother had to quit the job she took on to help supplement the family’s income, in order to look after Cindy full-time. It was a difficult period for everyone as they had to adjust both financially and emotionally to their new circumstances.
Cindy needed her mother for basic daily living activities like toileting, bathing, changing and eating. For her mother, the first few months were the most trying as she could not manage Cindy on her own and needed help to transfer Cindy from her wheelchair when necessary. Normal routines that we all take for granted required careful planning for the family as they tried to find their footing.
It took a long time for Cindy to accept her condition. It was hard for her and her family to cope with her sudden acquired disabilities. Cindy had intense mood swings and was frustrated especially in environments that reminded her of her disabilities.
In 2009, Cindy was referred to SPD for a series of programmes and services to help her get back on her feet. Her fees and charges are heavily subsidised as Cindy’s father did not earn much as an odd job casual worker. Social workers and therapists at SPD’s Rehabilitation Centre worked together with Cindy’s mother on an individual care plan to improve her physical functions and increase her opportunities for socialisation and activity engagement. To provide her family members with respite and the opportunity to continue working without having to worry about her care, Cindy was enrolled in the SPD Day Activity Centre (DAC). She was brought to and from the centre and her home in specially adapted vehicles with wheelchair accessibility. Social workers also provided support to Cindy and her family through counselling sessions. Cindy has been making progress ever since.
Today, Cindy is able to eat independently and to sit longer on the wheelchair compared to the earlier stage where she had to take frequent breaks from the wheelchair to rest on the bed. She is now able to socially interact with her friends as well as manage typing on a keyboard and learning computer skills. In August 2013, Cindy was even confident and eloquent enough to make announcements over a PA system to promote an art exhibition that was held at the DAC then. It has been seven years since Cindy acquired her disabilities. Under SPD’s programmes and services, Cindy is able to develop her personal potential at her pace and capacity. These improvements may seem insignificant to many able-bodied individuals but to Cindy, each improvement is another step towards self-reliance and independence.
Crises strike without warning and can hit anyone indiscriminately. Organisations like SPD strive to ease burdens and provide hope and care during the crisis. SPD’s objective is to equip and enable every person with disabilities to break barriers and enhance their individual potential so that they can achieve independence and self-reliance. To do this, we need your continuing support.
The SPD Flag Day is one of SPD’s major fundraising activities and this year, it will be on 14 June 2014. This is islandwide fundraising event also serves as a platform to create greater awareness of SPD’s mission and programmes and services.
Look out for our volunteers who will be stationed islandwide, and we hope for your support in making a donation. All contributions make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities such as Cindy, and help them find dignity and support to better their lives.