Assisi Hospice

Patients with terminal illness race for nurses

published by Catholic News on July 11, 2021
Community Engagement Committee Chairman, Ms Fiona Rankine (right) and Director of Nursing, Assisi Hospice, Ms Chiew Cheng Fong (left) flagged off the fun walk for Assisi Hospice’s patients.

Walking frames and wheelchairs did not prevent 20 patients with terminal illnesses to clock a total of nine kilometres at the launch of Assisi Hospice’s “I Race for Nurses” virtual run/walk on July 1, 2021. Socially distanced, the patients made their rounds over the 150m circuit of the hospice’s courtyard to show their appreciation for the nurses who provide care and comfort to them and their families.

This event marks the start of a month-long virtual campaign – running from July 1-31 and culminating on Nurses’ Day on Aug 1 – to encourage the public to acknowledge the hard work of nurses who often go the extra mile each day for patients. Assisi Hospice shared that their nurses often walk about 12 km per day attending to patients.

Leading the race and stepping confidently and independently was 72-year old Mr Raymond Balakrishnan. Just four years ago, Uncle Raymond, as he is affectionately known, needed the assistance of a wheelchair after suffering a sudden heart attack and going into a coma for two and a half months. With the encouragement of nurses and regular physiotherapy, seven months later he was able to walk again, unaided.

He fondly remembers the care he received from one of the nurses from the hospice. “She ensured that I was always comfortable and even after I was discharged from Inpatient Care to Day Care,” he said, “She would come and chit-chat with me whenever she was available.” The parishioner of St Joseph’s Church (Bukit Timah) explained that the reason he was participating to show his gratitude to the nurses. “The nurses encouraged me to be strong and not to give up hope.” He added, “Our life on earth is short so we must do our best to be kind to all whom we meet.”

Senior staff nurse Ms Rachel Adeline Wong said she was deeply grateful and heartened by the patients’ willingness to participate in the walk in support of nurses despite their illnesses. She shared that, as a Catholic, she encounters God through her patients who inspire her by their resilience and resolve to live each day.

To date, more than 3,400 participants have signed up for the virtual walk/run. For every 100 km covered, a $100 voucher, redeemable for shoes, will be gifted to an Assisi nurse by a sponsor. When the collective goal of 15,000 km is reached, all Assisi nurses will receive a $100 voucher each for Nurses’ Day.

A prayer for nurses

Let us continue to remember all healthcare workers who continue to devote their lives to care for the sick and dying with the utmost love, care and respect. On July 14, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Camillus de Lellis, founder of the Camillian order and one of the patron saints of nurses. St Camillus and his order dedicated their lives to care for those who were sick and dying in Rome during the 14th century bubonic plague.

“Most wonderful Saint Camillus, your compassion for the sick and the dying led you to found the Servants of the Sick. As the patron  of nurses and hospital workers, infuse in them your compassionate spirit. Make hospitals resemble the inn in Christ’s parable to which the Good Samaritan brought the wounded man saying: ‘Take care of him and I will repay you for it.’ Amen.”

Members of the public can sign up for “I Race for Nurses” at to walk/run a total of 12km, 21km, 50km or 250km from July 1-31, anywhere and anytime at their convenience.

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