Discover heartwarming testimonials from survivors, families, doctors, volunteers and corporate sponsors at Arc Children’s Centre, a sanctuary of joy and hope for children battling cancer and life-threatening illnesses in Singapore.

Here, we bring together the heartfelt stories and experiences of our community. From the resilient children and their supportive families to the dedicated doctors, compassionate volunteers, and generous corporate sponsors, each testimonial reflects the profound impact Arc Children’s Centre has on the lives it touches.

Drawing of a flower by Olivia
half rainbow
Drawing of a flower by Olivia
A boy and A girl raiding cycle

Survivors’ Testimonials

Saaman’s Journey: From Pain to Joy at Arc Children’s Centre

Saaman with his sister

Discovering friendship and joy at Arc Children’s Centre, 9-year-old from Dhaka shares his transformative journey through childhood illness leukemia, finding hope and inspiration for the future.

A Second Home
Saaman and his family stayed in Singapore for almost 3 years so that he could undergo cancer treatments that were unavailable in Bangladesh. Diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at the age nine, Saaman is now a 16-year-old secondary school student in Dhaka. Read about their days in Singapore and at Arc, telling us why Singapore feels like home.

Finding Solace and Friendship: A Transformative First Day at Arc Children’s Centre

“My best day at Arc Children’s’ Centre was my first day there because that’s when I realised I was not alone.
There were many kids like me.
It wasn’t just me who was going through this pain.”

That day, I also made my first few friends in Singapore. I had been eager to go to Arc the moment my doctor told me about it. But I had to wait for clearance. After weeks of chemotherapy, I was finally allowed to go. I was nine-and-a-half.

A Sanctuary of Fun: Discovering Joy and Relief from Pain at Arc

“I loved going to Arc. I had lots of friends there.
My sister, Nora came along too, and she also made friends.”

Arc was a place where I had fun, unlike staying at home or in hospital and being bored to death. Arc was where I could take a break from
everything. When I was there, I couldn’t care less about all the medicines, chemo, and restrictions.

Escaping Constraints: Embracing Freedom and Normalcy at Arc Children’s Centre
At the time, my whole family shared a rented room. But at Arc, I could roam around and breathe freely. Every night, I would wait for morning so that I could go to Arc. I went every weekday, except when I had doctor’s appointments, or was hospitalised, or was sick from chemo.

Motivation Amidst Adversity: Arc’s Impact on Mental Resilience and Well-Being
I remember all the Arc activities. The outings and camps played a big part in keeping me motivated because if not for Arc, I was either stuck at home or in hospital, which made me feel like I was different from everyone else and couldn’t do things other people could.

Lifelong Lessons: Values and Morals Instilled by Arc’s Dedicated Caregivers

“I know that losing hope is the worst thing to do when you are sick.
So, I have never given up.”

Besides, the aunties who took care of us at Arc also taught us to keep going and to continue with our schoolwork. No excuses. They taught us about values and morals, diligence and leadership, things that will stay with us for life.

Paying It Forward: Aspiring to Heal and Inspire Others Like Arc Did for Me
I know it’s not possible to repay their kindness and support, but I aim to become a doctor, and this would be an opportunity for me to be in touch with great people like my doctor Professor Allen Yeoh and the aunties at Arc. I also have a dream to open a centre like Arc in my country for poor and sick kids. Maybe it will be possible with the collaboration of Arc.

Saaman with his father Aminul mother and sister
“Pediatric cancer treatment is complicated, scary, unkind, and sometimes an unbearable financial burden. But whenever a problem was stressing me out, Ronita and Geraldine extended their help. They still do this even though we’re back in Dhaka. Their dedication knows no bounds. I thank them and the whole Arc team for taking care of us. You are true heroes! And you’re always in our prayers.”
– Dr Aminul .I Talukder, Father of Samaan
Survivor Hafiyyan sitting cross legged with two hands on chin

Discover how Arc helped then 12-year-old Hafiyyan overcome childhood cancer, shaping his discipline and passion for science, paving the way for a bright future.

Hafiyyan is counting down to the day he completes his full-time National Service stint and can’t wait to start his Diagnostic Radiography course at the Singapore Institute of Technology. Without Arc, says the 23-year-old, things could have turned out differently.

Discovering My Passion: How Illness Sparked My Interest in Science
The course I have chosen is Diagnostic Radiography. Ever since I was young, I have had an affinity for science, especially Biology. My interest in Biology deepened after I was diagnosed with cancer.

“But without Arc, I might not have pursued science, which requires a lot of discipline and dedication.
If I hadn’t gone to Arc, I would have been quite lazy!”

Many Arc volunteers helped me to stay focused. They helped motivate me to study. They also taught me how to separate my study time and play time, which was really beneficial. Arc also provided a calm and quiet space for me to study.

Arc: My Haven for Learning and Growth
When I completed my cancer treatment, my doctor told me about Arc. At the time, I didn’t have anything to do while waiting for Secondary school to begin. My doctor suggested that I spend time at Arc, get to know other kids who went through the same things I did and also to do some studying so that I would not fall behind when I re-entered school. So I went, maybe twice or thrice a week when my mother was at work. I stopped only when I entered polytechnic.

Nights of Joy and Friendship: My Fond Memories of Arc Camps
The overnight camps. I remember we used to play dodgeball at night and we had soccer matches as well. Everyone had fun. Even the aunties who volunteered joined in the fun. I miss those days and cherish the memories deeply.

Learning Empathy and Patience: Lessons from My Time at Arc

“Arc taught me many things.
I have learnt to care and to have patience.”

Before Arc, I was clueless about a lot of things, including how to handle little children who have special needs. I’ve realised that we’re all the same. We just need a little care and love. And with patience, everyone can be happy.

“I started going to Arc when I was 11. I spent most of my school holidays there. The older children share their experiences and help the younger ones overcome their fears. I’ve also learned life skills at Arc that will help me.”
– Kenneth, 21, current ITE student and future aircraft engineer (admitted in 2011)

“My best days were spent hanging out with friends at Arc, eating pizza and playing UNO at night during the camp. We spent quality time together. I also enjoyed the activities – bowling, soccer, movies and luge rides – that Auntie Ronita and Auntie Gerri organised.”
– Ivan, 19, a polytechnic student who started going to Arc at age 9 and now dreams of becoming a professional gamer and content creator (admitted in 2011)

“Every day that I spent at Arc was fun, exciting and promising! I consider some of my friends there to be among my closest friends because they have helped me in many ways through the many years we spent together. At Arc, I also learnt to be more forgiving and empathetic.”
– Husna, 16, who started going to Arc at age 9 and wants to work in the Aerospace industry when she grows up (admitted in 2012)

“I started going to Arc when I was 8. What I enjoy most is taking care of the younger kids. My time at Arc has taught me to be more caring and responsible, and to have more confidence in myself.”
– Sajit, 18, an ITE student who plans to become an MRT engineer (admitted in 2011)

“Arc helped me cope with my treatment when I felt at my weakest by diverting me with fun activities. Once, we went on a sightseeing Duck Tour. It was exclusively for us because we have compromised immune systems. Arc taught me that you will always find comfort with friends around. If not for the pandemic, I would visit Arc whenever I go to Singapore for treatment.”
– Carl, 17, a high school senior who lives in the Philippines (admitted in 2012)

“I was two when I first went to ARC. I would go there whenever my brother (Carl) went to the hospital. People were kind and friendly even though they did not know me.  I learned that helping people is a nice thing to do and eating vegetables is good for you. I also learned that making friends with people especially when they need special care is one of the best things that I can do.”
– 11-year-old Alisha, who wants to be a lawyer someday (admitted in 2012)

“I was 5 when I first stepped into Arc. I’ve loved every single day. Going to Arc was really enjoyable but what made me want to go there even more was the friends I had there. I also learnt many things such as discipline, respect and endurance. Whenever I did something I shouldn’t have done, aunty Ronita would educate me on why I should not have done it and not just scream and say I was wrong. As for respect, aunty Gerri always told me to respect everyone despite their age. And endurance, I learnt from everyone around me. Despite their suffering, everyone had a smile, including my parents. When Covid-19 hit in 2020, going to Arc became difficult. But I will go back to volunteering once everything goes back to normal.”
– Jaynesh, 15, aspiring psychologist/lawyer (admitted in 2011)

“The best day I had at Arc was during Camp. We had a Nerf gun battle and I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed spending time with my childhood friends. Arc also has a conducive environment for me to study in. I learnt many things at Arc. One of those things is public speaking, which has given me more confidence.”
– Zahra, 13, future psychologist/ psychiatrist/ marine biologist who went to Arc every day for three years (admitted in 2012)

“I enjoyed making new friends at Arc. The younger children there are always so cheerful. They make me happy. I’ve learnt to be more responsible as an older sister to the younger children and my siblings who also go to Arc with me. If I missed school, Arc teachers would help me catch up. Aunty Ronita, Aunty Gerrie and the teachers also encouraged me, especially during the year I was taking PSLE which was really stressful. With their help, I managed to do very well. I want to be gynaecologist in the future and I’m working towards that.”
– Batrisya, 14, who was four when she started going to Arc (admitted in 2011)

Families’ Testimonials

Rediscovering Happiness & Confidence During Tough Times – Christine and Jack Wong, Parents of Austin and Oscar

Christine and Jack Wong Parents of Austin and Oscar

Austin, diagnosed with neuroblastoma at 2 years 9 months old, found solace and growth at Arc, evolving from timid and weak to confident and regaining physical strength under nurturing guidance. Beyond academics, Arc provided crucial financial and emotional support to his family, benefiting his brother Oscar too. Read more about Austin’s journey with Arc through the eyes of his parents.

The Unwelcome Diagnosis: Aggressive Neuroblastoma
When Austin Wong was diagnosed at 2 years and 9 months with aggressive neuroblastoma, he learned that he was ‘special’ but not in a good way.

“We could not believe this was happening as he was just so little.
We felt helpless and sad because we could not take away our child’s pain.”

We gradually accepted the diagnosis after the medical team explained the treatment plan. Saving our son’s life meant a string of treatments and long hospital stays. Austin endured the painful chemotherapy and all its side-effects.

Overcoming Isolation Through Engagement
Following another parent’s strong recommendation to us, we enrolled him after being impressed by the high hygiene standards in Arc. Recalling Austin’s early years at Arc, he was a quiet and physically weak little boy due to his intensive treatments and preferred to be by himself a lot.

“Thanks to his patient and loving teachers who encouraged Austin to participate, play and learn, he eventually came out of his shell.”

The Making of a Bilingual Communicator
We remember Austin coming home and sharing with us daily on how his teachers spoke to him kindly and slowly in English and used comforting words to help our Austin. He slowly built his confidence and shared that his teachers often praised him for speaking English and participating in new activities. Austin is now fluent in English and Mandarin.

Gaining Independence in Daily Tasks
Austin is also able to manage all his school items on his own – no easy feat considering when he started at Arc, he could barely carry his own schoolbag and water bottle.

The Ripple Effect on Family Dynamics
Austin took to Arc so well that we enrolled his older brother Oscar as well. Oscar received many excellent learning experiences and opportunities to bond with Austin and made new friends. This helped us to rest and return to work with peace of mind.

Having Hope for Primary 1

“Austin loves going to Arc every day, especially Friday which is ‘Fun-day’ where the kids can play at their spacious indoor play area.”

On Sundays, he looks forward to the next day when he can see his teachers and friends again. We are hopeful that Austin can begin Primary 1 next year with his confidence and excitement in learning.

A Relief for Parental Financial and Emotional Concerns
The help given by Arc is really appreciated, especially in waiving the fees when our finances were tight and always lending a listening ear and understanding our parenting problems.

Arc: A Sanctuary for Healing

“We want to say to parents in similar situations as us,
please be assured that Arc is a safe place for children with critical illnesses.”

We are most grateful to Arc for helping these children through their unhappiness and pain that their conditions bring. It is truly a place where sick children can learn, make friends, develop skills and feel no different from their healthy peers. Thank you Arc for helping our sons, Austin and Oscar feel happy just being themselves!

Amy Wang and husband Parents of twin daughters Ivee and Ezri

A mother’s journey through her child’s leukaemia diagnosis unveils the unwavering care and support services of Arc Children’s Centre, fostering hope and resilience within their family amidst adversity.

Two Peas in a Pod

Mother’s Life-Altering Moment When One Sibling Has Leukaemia
Amy Wang’s family was complete when she and her husband were blessed with twin daughters, Ivee and Ezri. The bubbly sisters got along famously and were thriving at full-day childcare until Ezri was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was two-and-a-half years old. Life as they knew it came to a standstill, as Amy and her husband scrambled to start Ezri’s treatment, take her out of school and make alternative childcare plans for Ivee.

Choosing to quit her job and be Ezri’s full- time caregiver, Amy spent days on end with Ezri at the hospital while Ivee was cared for at her paternal grandmother’s home for two months. Ivee living apart from the family broke her parents’ heart, but they pushed on with Ezri’s continued hospital care. It was during her treatment that Ezri’s doctors told the family about Arc, planting the first seed of hope in Amy’s heart for Ivee to be reunited with the family.

Arc: A Beacon of Hope Amidst Darkness

“Even though Ezri was not well enough to attend Arc, we were so thankful that Arc accepted her sibling, Ivee, in August 2016.”

Attending Arc meant Ivee could enjoy door-to-door transport and she could live with us while my husband and I took turns to send Ezri for regular chemotherapy or to the hospital for her frequent fevers and infections. It was a tough time for us as she was hospitalized 17 times in 2017. But knowing that Ivee was safe and happy at Arc gave us hope as we could enjoy her joyful presence each day after school.

Even Ezri was cheered by her sister’s enthusiasm for school and looked forward to attending Arc herself. After a month of improved immunity, Ezri’s doctors finally allowed her to attend Arc for the first time in December.

Ivee and Ezri: Sisters United by Love and Resilience
Her first day at Arc filled the little girl with so much joy that Ezri actually burst into tears and refused to step back home at the end of the day, asking instead to return to Arc. It was only with Ivee’s comfort and assurance that there was definitely school the next day that Ezri finally calmed down.

Arc Children’s Centre: A Haven of Compassion and Support
Amy is also inspired by the centre’s caring and loving teachers. Because Ezri is currently undergoing maintenance chemotherapy and steroid treatments, she gets erratic mood swings which made me worry that she might get punished for misbehaving in school. But her teachers are full of empathy and reassurance.”

“One day after an especially painful treatment session, Ezri arrived at Arc in tears. As I started to leave, I saw her immediately rush to hug Aunty Ronita tight like a koala while Aunty Ronita patiently soothed and calmed her down. That moment, witnessing the tremendous love the staff have for their children, really touched me!”

The girls’ time at Arc strengthened their family as Amy and her husband found support in other parents going through similar journeys. Amy is full of praise for Arc’s reliable and patient staff, including the accommodating drivers who readily send Ivee straight to the hospital or to her grandmother’s home, without complaint, to join her family whenever Ezri had to be urgently admitted.

“Arc has really transformed our lives and given us the blessing of living together as one family which has made Ezri’s health trials more bearable.
Thank you, Arc for giving us hope that our life will indeed get better!”

Rachel Beacher Mother to Henry and older sister Penelope

Expat family’s Singapore life upturned by Henry’s infant leukaemia. Discover how Arc brings joy, resilience, and friendships amidst Henry’s childhood cancer journey.

What Arc Means to Us
After living in Singapore for 8 years, my husband and I considered Singapore our new home and thus decided to bring up our family here. A week before our son Henry’s diagnosis I recall a taxi driver looking at my 3-year-old girl and 18-month-old boy and telling me, “You have the perfect family”. We have always counted our blessings but didn’t quite realise just how good “normal” was at the time!

From Perfect Family to Unforeseen Challenge: Henry’s Leukaemia Journey
A week later, Henry was rushed to the emergency room with unexplained bruises. Within 30 mins our lives had changed forever. Henry was diagnosed with very high-risk Infant Leukaemia. All this happened in September 2015. The next few years saw our little boy enduring high dose chemotherapy, with the first year being very intense with frequent hospital stays and isolation from others to protect his immunity. Keeping an active 18-month toddler attached to a line through his chest for days on end when all he wanted to do was run, play, and explore was like running an endless marathon.

Navigating Infant Leukaemia
We were feeling emotionally and physically exhausted when the hospital and other parents recommended Arc. On our first visit, it was clear to see how much the leaders Ronita, Geraldine and the team understand the children they care for. They helped us break through the fog and burden of diagnosis for parents and their families and allowed our child to simply be the child that he was meant to be. In addition, the safe space Arc provides helped us overcome the tricky challenge to find areas where the risk of infection is low.

Arc: A Haven of Hope and Joy for Henry and His Family Facing Childhood Cancer

“The changes we have seen in Henry has given us so much joy!”

The swift development in his language puts a smile on our faces every day when he can communicate and tell us how he feels, we as parents become more patient.

Previously, car rides were only associated with going to the hospital for jabs and pokes. Now, he looks forward to the drive to Arc every morning with the friendly uncles who pick him up and drop him off and patiently endure endless excitable chatter and singing.

Empathy in Action: Henry’s Heart-Warming Journey at Arc

“One precious aspect is how Henry now has friends.
All the socialisation skills and playdates that had been denied for so long…
that part of his life is now fulfilled.”

Just the other week, Henry saw an Arc buddy crying in the blood-taking room in the hospital and rushed in to comfort him saying, “Don’t cry.” It was incredibly humbling to see such empathy from a 3-year-old.

Arc: Creating Bonds of Friendship, Where Care Extends Beyond Treatment
As a teacher myself, I understand the requirements of maintaining a vibrant classroom, but on my many visits it is clear that the job the Arc team takes on is so much more. Individual care is given to each child with love. Henry still needs naps, and his requests for Auntie Ronita to hold him to sleep are always met with open arms.

Paediatric Cancer is very complicated. It is diverse, random, scary, unkind and it does not discriminate. People around us mention, “I don’t know how you cope”. When it comes to your own child, you just do whatever it takes.

“But having the amazing Arc has given us much more resilience and helps us adjust our lives more easily to a new normal.
That is invaluable.”

Words from the Parents


“The Arc staff and volunteers work from their hearts and treat our kids like their own children. We cannot get this kind of special relationship from a regular school.”
– Khaing, whose son Alvin found friends and understanding at Arc when he was grappling with leukaemia at age five


“Nat has learned so much since joining Arc and looks forward to playing with his friends at Arc. It is a good place for him as the experienced staff know how to care for children with cancer. We know our child is in good hands.”
– Linda, whose son Nathanael was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was five


“After attending lessons at Arc, Zahra has become much more confident and loves learning. She has learned to read and write in English. This helps me a lot because my family speaks mainly Malay and I was worried Zahra would fall behind in primary school. I am so proud of her progress!”
– Nor Azirah whose daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia at age two


“I am grateful for all the love that everyone at Arc has showered on Sabrina. Arc is the only place that I would entrust my daughter.”
– Eric Toh, whose daughter Sabrina was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was two


“Arc was such a welcome relief. It gave us a much-needed break from the hospital and the stress over Varisha’s health. It was wonderful to meet other families that understood what we were going through. Finding a support system has been priceless.”
– Shaheen, whose daughter Varisha was diagnosed with leukaemia at 13 months


“One precious aspect is how Henry now has friends. All the socialisation skills and playdates that had been denied for so long… that part of his life is now fulfilled. And when Henry saw an Arc buddy crying in the hospital, he rushed to comfort him, saying, ‘Don’t cry.’ It was humbling to see such empathy from a three-year-old.”
– Rachel Beacher, whose son was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was 18 months old


“Even though Ezri was not well enough to attend Arc, we were thankful that Arc accepted her twin sister Ivee. This meant Ivee could live with us while my husband and I took turns to send Ezri for treatment. It was a tough time as Ezri was hospitalized 17 times in 2017. But knowing that Ivee was safe and happy at Arc gave us hope, and we could enjoy her joyful presence each day.”
– Amy Wang, who had to place Ivee in grandma’s care for two months when Ezri was diagnosed with leukaemia at age two


“I really did not know what to do when I heard about Ona’s diagnosis. My mind was blank. The social worker told me to call Arc. That call changed my life and Ona’s life. Arc accepted her during our time of need and allowed her to start with them at just 18 months old. Arc is not just a child care centre. It’s a second family. You feel accepted here, regardless of your income, background or illness.”
– Elfi, who had financial difficulties around the time Ona was diagnosed with neuroblastoma


“Esmond needed a feeding tube via his nose when he first started at Arc and the experienced staff knew exactly what to do. He has been coached, guided and loved by all the staff. It was amazing how quickly he has grown in terms of knowledge and confidence. We enjoyed the weekly videos showing us his development.”
– Edmund Cheng, whose son was diagnosed with a serious immune system disorder at three months of age


“Arc helps children with illnesses cope, minimises their pain and gives them a joyful environment. It also gives comfort and support to the parents and siblings of these children. Arc has served as our beacon of hope in times of hardship. Arc has taught us never to give up no matter how hard the challenge.”
– Cheryl from the Philippines, who stayed in Singapore for two years for her son’s cancer treatment

“Arc gave me hope after my daughter’s diagnosis when it felt like the world was crushing me. The staff at the centre are like family to me. They are caring and approachable. My daughter has experienced kindness at Arc and the warm environment has given her a sense of belonging and security. She has become confident and independent. She is 14 now and always looks forward to going to Arc with her younger brother during their school holidays. Thank you Arc for being the sun to our darkest night!”
– Hidaya, whose daughter Batrisyia has been going to Arc for 10 years

Husna, sister of Zahra looking at mobile phone together
“To anyone who has a sibling with a life-threatening illness, I want you to know that you are not alone.”
– Husna, Sister of Zahra

Fostering resilience and camaraderie: A journey of siblings finding joy, solace and strength at Arc Children’s Centre, supporting each other through childhood illness leukaemia.

A Family’s Journey: Navigating Childhood Leukaemia
When my little sister, Zahra was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) at the age of four, it was a sad and stressful time for my family. As a six-year-old, I remember the hospital visits as Zahra went through chemotherapy, and the difficulty of not being able to spend time with her and my parents. Luckily, my older brother took great care of me during that time.

Embracing Hope: Zahra’s Arc Experience Begins
In 2012, Zahra started attending Arc, a centre that helps children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Our parents were worried about the higher risk of infections, but Zahra was eager to go to school and make friends. She would tell me all about the fun things she did at Arc, and I was envious. When I had the chance to join her in July 2015, I was beyond excited.

Beyond Education: Arc’s Holistic Support
From the moment I walked into the centre, I felt very welcomed. Everyone was so nice and made sure I felt at home. Since then, Arc has looked out for me in so many ways. When I was struggling with my studies in upper primary and needed to improve my grades, Arc found teachers to help me get through my PSLE. But more than that, Arc also nurtured me and made me a better person by teaching me the importance of having manners and being responsible. These values have helped me tremendously as I grow up.

Fun and Friendship: Making Memories at Arc
My happiest memories of Arc are the camps held during school holidays. We got to experience different activities like bowling, playing futsal, and even going to the Luge. I remember having so much fun and making countless good memories.

Inspiring Resilience: Smiles Amidst Challenges
I also enjoyed spending time with my friends and the other children at Arc. Despite facing life-threatening illnesses, they never failed to put a smile on my face. It is inspiring to see them smiling so brightly and growing up so wonderfully.

Gratitude and Support: Arc’s Impact on Families
Arc has been a tremendous help to my family, and I am extremely grateful to them for giving Zahra the opportunity to have a fun and meaningful childhood. To anyone who has a sibling with a life-threatening illness, I want you to know that you are not alone. I understand how you might be feeling, but you have the support of everyone around you. It may not be easy, but better days are coming. You are strong, and I will always be here for you!

Husna is pursuing a diploma in Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics in Nanyang Polytechnic

Doctors’ Testimonials

Holistic Healing: Beyond the Diagnosis at Arc Children’s Centre – Dr Tan Poh Lin

Arc Children’s Centre supports children and families beyond childhood illness diagnosis, providing care and holistic support for emotional and social well-being.

Dr Tan Poh Lin, Senior Consultant, Division of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology in the Department of Paediatrics, NUH
“I have referred numerous patients to Arc because I firmly believe in the improved quality of life it offers. Healing is not limited to the body alone; it must include nurturing the mind and heart”.
– Dr Tan Poh Lin, Senior Consultant, Division of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology in the Department of Paediatrics, NUH

Uplifting Young Patients and Families to Thrive Beyond Critical Illness
With over 25 years of medical experience, I have witnessed the challenges faced by children and youths suffering from catastrophic diseases. As a senior paediatrician specialising in stem cell transplantation at the National University Hospital, I understand that true health encompasses more than physical well-being. Emotional and social well- being are equally vital to living a healthy life.

Understanding the Whole Picture: Beyond Physical Health

“As doctors, we acknowledge that addressing their psychosocial needs is an area where our capabilities fall short.”

Curing a child and providing the necessary intensive treatment for their survival is just the first step. Even after successful treatment, many of these children face physically and socially restrictive living conditions imposed by caregivers to protect them from infections. Many are inevitably deprived of experiencing a “normal” childhood which can take a toll on their psychosocial development. As doctors, we acknowledge that addressing their psychosocial needs is an area where our capabilities fall short.

The Role of Arc: Personalised Care for Psychosocial Development
Fortunately, there is a solution—Arc. It is precisely the kind of environment that supports the social and emotional development of our young patients. Arc offers personalised care tailored to each patient’s unique requirements and is supported by specialists who ensure holistic support. Beyond addressing critical illnesses to other symptoms such as visual impairment and loss of speech.

Supporting Families: Alleviating Post-Diagnosis Challenges

“Arc steps in to alleviate the pressures these families experience, providing them with a sense of relief and support.”

Arc also plays a crucial role in helping families cope with the challenges they face. The aftermath of a diagnosis is invariably a tumultuous time for both family members and patients. Emotions such as loss, fear, uncertainty, and unease become prominent, exacerbated by concerns related to income, time, and loss of control. In some cases, survivors and family members may unknowingly develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Additionally, families who are non-residents or lack support networks and permanent housing arrangements face further hardships. Arc steps in to alleviate the pressures these families experience, providing them with a sense of relief and support.

Empowering Healing: Arc’s Transformative Role

“Arc serves as a transformative force, empowering young patients and their families to thrive beyond critical illness.”

I have been personally involved with Arc since my initial encounter with its co-founders, Ronita and Geraldine, many years ago. Over time, I have referred numerous patients to Arc because I firmly believe in the improved quality of life it offers. Healing is not limited to the body alone; it must include nurturing the mind and heart.

Arc serves as a transformative force, empowering young patients and their families to thrive beyond critical illness. By prioritising their social and emotional well-being, Arc creates an environment where these children can truly experience a better quality of life.

Professor Allen Yeoh Eng Juh with two children holding golden balloons
“When you feel alone or down, reach out to Auntie Ronita, Auntie Geraldine, as well as the other parents at Arc. It is said that it takes a village to cure a child with cancer; while we don’t have villages in Singapore, we are certainly blessed to have a place of love that is Arc.”
– Prof Allen Yeoh, Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, Department of Paediatrics, Khoo Teck Puat, National University Children’s Medical Institute, NUH

Dr Allen Yeoh, Paediatric oncologist at NUH, highlights Arc’s role in supporting families dealing with childhood cancer, providing a safe haven and structured learning for children with cancer.

A Safe Haven for Sowing Love: Insights from a Paediatric Oncologist
A paediatric oncologist at NUH, Dr Allen Yeoh specialises in childhood acute leukaemia and has been a doctor for over 28 years. As a dedicated doctor to numerous patients from Arc, Dr Yeoh is very familiar with the daily challenges that come with treating children under the age of 6 with cancer, particularly for their parents, siblings and care-givers.

While he tries to see cancer treatment as positively as possible, “like a blip or pause in life” for his young, precocious patients, Dr Yeoh understands that this period is tremendously trying for the entire family.

Navigating Challenges: Supporting Families Through Cancer Treatment

“Cancer treatment is often a stressful and maybe even life-threatening juncture when the family must go into a clinical, protective mode of life.”

The problem with this is we are not talking about 1 or even 6 months of treatment but at least 2 years. A key challenge then is how to keep the child undergoing treatment protected in this critical part of his life when he is also meant to be exploring and developing, socialising.”

Hygiene and Protection: Safeguarding Vulnerable Young Patients
Another challenge for young patients undergoing treatment is that they are at an age when they are most susceptible to infections having not yet completed their vaccinations, nor having been exposed to many infections before.

“Inherently younger children are not the most hygienic as they have little concept of cleaning their hands or the risks of putting things in their mouths or noses. Since treatment for the most common type of leukaemia is 2 years, patients often remain immunologically very weak for a long time,” added Dr Yeoh.

Arc: A Beacon of Normalcy Amidst the Storm of Cancer Treatment
This is where Arc comes in. Viewing Arc as a hygienic haven that gives much needed normalcy for the critical juncture faced by families impacted by cancer, Dr Yeoh remarks, “Parents of patients can enrol their child and even the child’s sibling, who is well, in a protected, clean learning environment under the care of a wonderfully supportive and well-trained team.”

Transformative Impact: From Isolation to Integration Through Arc’s Programmes

“Arc is indeed a safe environment where parents can entrust their children to the teachers so that they can return to keeping their homes, going back to work and sustaining their families.”

Speaking on days before Arc, Dr Yeoh reflected that many children with cancer used to be totally isolated, immersed in their electronic devices and shut out from public. These children were usually miserable, introverted, totally dependent on their parents and often spoilt, leaving them shocked by their difficult reintegration back to school upon recovery.

“I think Arc has grown in its impact since the children who have ‘graduated’ from Arc have proven to end up doing better thanks to its fun, structured learning that prepares them for mainstream schooling,” said Dr Yeoh.

Arc Violette with Dr Soh Shui Paediatric Oncologist
“Arc is indeed a safe place with high standards of hygiene, a loving and caring environment with understanding staff and volunteers who are aware of the medical challenges faced by children coping with serious illness, but still need to go on with life,”
– Dr Soh Shui Yen, Head and Senior Consultant, Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Service, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH)

Dr. Soh Shui Yen, a paediatric oncologist, sharing her experience about Arc Children’s Centre providing vital support for families navigating childhood cancer, offering hope and resilience.

As a paediatric oncologist at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Dr Soh Shui Yen works with young patients and their parents to treat various cancers and also helps these families overcome the psycho-social challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis.

Navigating Grief: Supporting Families Through the Cancer Journey
“When people are confronted with bad news, such as a serious illness, they typically go through these stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Some will sail through and cope relatively well, while others need extra help especially when first dealing with the news,” Dr Soh explained.

Creating a Child-Friendly Environment: Dr. Soh’s Insights
She and her medical team typically spend ample time at the beginning to ensure communication with the parents or care-givers is consistent, clear and open. Dr Soh added that actively listening to the children undergoing treatment is also critical.

“Children also go through stages of grief in their own way; for instance, they have a lot of fear of pain, the unknown, strangers and new environments.”

“As a children’s hospital, we ensure the environment here is as child-friendly as possible and remind parents and care-givers to be mindful of how they behave in front of their children,” she said.

Arc: A Sanctuary for Families Facing Life-Threatening Childhood Illness
On this front, Dr Soh believes Arc is a place that provides critical psycho-social support for children and their parents, to learn, socialise and face the future amid the health struggles.

Overcoming Financial and Emotional Burdens with Arc’s Support
Sharing the impact of Arc in the lives of one patient with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer, Dr Soh recounted that while the boy responded well to the treatment, he developed bad complications towards the end of his chemotherapy. He ended up needing more medical interventions which added to the parents’ financial burden of the parents and they, especially his mother, were falling into depression and losing hope.

Dr Soh highlighted:

“Arc helped that patient and his family to socialise, meet people, reintegrate into social networks and feel normal again.”

“This is very important as undergoing intensive medical treatments changes people’s worlds overnight. They are abruptly cut off from society and only face the medical team for extended periods of time.”

Normalising Life and Social Integration at Arc

“They see Arc as a safe place where they can meet other families and volunteers to enjoy mutual support; through this process they also develop gratitude and hope.”

“I think this is very important for them as it helps both the child and his family prepare for the future, such as returning to mainstream school, and become more resilient. The psychological and emotion impacts extend to the long-term.”
Dr Soh said her go-to method on helping families cope is to have a very open and factual conversation right from the start. “Nowadays a lot of cancers are curable, so I tell my patients and their parents that we have to face it and do our best. When we know we have done our best, we will not have regrets. We need to try to make the child’s environment and life as normal as possible even when they go through treatment so that is why Arc is important in the normalising process.

Finding Strength and Joy Amidst Challenges: Arc’s Role in Healing

“I would tell them to stay strong, continue with the treatment and always remember that life goes on,”

Dr Soh affirms, saying, “Arc also helps the parents of sick children have much-needed respite and time off after the physically and emotionally draining experience of care-giving.

I really want to thank the staff and volunteers of Arc for being so selfless and going beyond their busy lives to do the wonderful work of helping these children and their families. I think you really help them feel happier. It is obvious there is a lot of love in Arc and it is crucial for the kids and parents to feel this love during the very difficult time of their lives. They now look forward to each new day when they can attend Arc and can face the future with joy!”

Teacher’s Testimonials

Empowering Minds: Sadiah Shahal’s Journey as an Arc Volunteer Teacher

Seeds of Inspiration

Mr Mrs Maliki Osman Sadiah Shahal Arc Volunteer Teacher
“The beauty of Arc is that it allows the children to grow at their own pace according to their needs. For instance, we teachers ensure that children who have lost classroom time due to treatment, feel secure and confident in catching up before we push them to the next step.”
– Mrs Maliki

Mrs Maliki’s volunteer journey at Arc Children’s Centre fosters learning, self-worth, and resilience, touching lives and hearts along the way.

Empowering Minds: Sadiah Shahal’s Journey as an Arc Volunteer Teacher
Sadiah Shahal (Mrs Maliki), known affectionately as ‘Cikgu’ or teacher in Malay, has been a volunteer teacher with Arc since 2016. Arc was sorely in need of a Malay teacher to help children prepare for Mother Tongue classes in primary school. So armed with a master’s degree in early childhood education and a passion for children, Sadiah’s contribution came at an opportune time.

Arc’s Malay Language Initiative: Bridging Cultures and Building Confidence

“Arc kids are smart, joyful, perceptive, and ready to learn.”

“In addition to teaching Malay as a second language to Arc’s Malay children, I also teach conversational Malay to all the Arc students, regardless of their nationality, two half-days a week,” shared Sadiah. Sadiah has also used her own funds to purchase books to start Arc’s first Malay language library and has purchased learning aids and games to engage her students.

Nurturing Self-Worth: Sadiah’s Dedication to Arc Children’s Education
Sadiah shares, “A child’s sense of self- worth is critical so we constantly give them affirmation and encouragement, particularly when they have been sick and out of school for a while.”

“Arc has a very flexible approach to helping children undergoing treatment or in remission to integrate into mainstream school.”

“We cannot force the students to be Primary One ready on our terms. Our prerogative is to create a motivating, warm and safe learning environment to affirm that they are on the right track.”

Arc’s Adaptive Approach to Child Development
Comparing the Arc methodology with a mainstream pre-school with a structured curriculum, Sadiah observes, “If you regard the Arc kids as seeds, then you’ll know that different seeds need different types of sunlight to grow. Some grow well under strong sun while others need more shade and TLC.”

In Memory of Aiman: Sadiah’s Heartfelt Connection with an Arc Student
Sadiah’s most significant moment with Arc was her time with Aiman, who passed away last year, saying: “I first met Aiman when he was 3 years old. I remember him being very scared when he first came to Arc but we got along very well right from the start. Sadly, he had a brain tumour with a poor prognosis, yet he responded very well to Arc’s environment and was a happy child by nature. I really loved singing songs with Aiman and teasing him to make him laugh.”

Sadiah’s bond and care for him stretched beyond school hours and she often helped Aiman’s grandmother transport him to and from KK Hospital for treatment as his single mother worked full time. Sadiah fondly recalled how happy he was to be in the car singing songs, and how after a fun day at the SEA Aquarium together, Aiman had turned to her and said he hoped to drive her around one day.

Unfortunately, Aiman’s health took a turn for the worse in 2016 and he was admitted to the ICU. “Even though it was right before an overseas trip with my husband for Hari Raya, we both rushed down to see Aiman at the hospital at around 2am. By then Aiman couldn’t even speak but he managed to open his eyes to look at me when he was prompted by his grandma. I received news that he had passed away when I was in Brunei. This made me really thankful as I got a chance to see him one last time.” However, experiencing the strong spirit and maturity of the Arc children has in turn strengthened Sadiah, changing her for the better.

Strength in Adversity: Sadiah’s Transformation Through Volunteering at Arc

“As volunteers, we think that we are helping the Arc children, but they are really the ones helping us with their strong spirits and maturity.”

“I feel that I have truly developed more resilience along the way. I give to Arc not because I have a lot but because I know how it feels to have nothing as I myself started from a humble background. I see the children at Arc as inspirational seeds with so much potential to grow, give back and be joyful for.”

“We would like to wish Arc a very Happy 10th Anniversary. 10 years seem to be short, but much has been achieved. I had fond memories of all the children at Arc each time I visit Arc and all the work that has been done by the teachers and the staff in Arc. You are true inspiration; you are truly the light in our lives.”
– Dr Maliki Osman, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Education & Foreign Affairs

Volunteers’ Testimonials

“What resonates with me are Arc’s values – Simplicity, Joy, Compassion, Support and Commitment.  These values are very much in the DNA of everyone who works here. With humanity and kindness, they provide a sanctuary for children with serious illnesses. They form a strong support system for the children and give them a chance to grow as individuals.

I became a volunteer 10 years ago. The CEO of my company is a strong believer in giving back to society and he has known the Founders of Arc for a very long time. That’s how I learnt about Arc. And after seeing how the centre is run, what it stands for and most of all, the people behind Arc, I haven’t looked back.

“Arc has lived up to its values.
It has shown me what courage really looks like and made me realise how petty some of the things I constantly worry about are.”

Just being here and seeing how happy the children are, and how they react to everyone at Arc fills my heart with joy.”

– Joanne Consigliere, Volunteer

Pamela Oei wearing yellow holding a microphone hosting an Arc event

“My volunteering began after Ronita extended great care to my late mother in a hospice. She made the effort to talk to the family members of the dying and her gentle manner brought me much comfort. She also painstakingly explained the stages my mum was experiencing as she edged towards death. Knowing what was happening to my mother physically really helped. I thought, ‘OK whatever help this woman needs in the future, I will gladly extend to her.’

Ronita Paul is my hero. Geraldine has the biggest, warmest heart and positivity that is unmatched. I would do anything for these two. Watching them and the wonderful Arc staff take such remarkable care of the kids is life affirming and inspiring.

“The work that Arc does is critical and meaningful.
I volunteer because I am 100% behind what they do.
It is my pleasure to support their work.”

Through the years, we inevitably lose some kids to cancer. For me, it is very difficult and heart-breaking to witness this loss. I don’t know how Roni, Geri and the staff do it over and over, and how their hearts withstand the pain. Very possibly, their hearts are bigger than everyone else’s.”

– Pam Oei, Volunteer

Corporate Partnership Testimonials

Benny Chan: UOB’s Enduring Commitment to Arc

UOB’s CSR partnership since 2011 embodies unwavering support for Arc Children’s Centre. UOB’s sponsorship, fundraising, employee volunteering, and vibrant events, fostering deep connections.

Benny Chan Head of Channels Singapore, UOB
“At UOB, giving back to the community, especially in the areas of children, education and art, is ingrained in our corporate culture.
Over the years we have established a close partnership with Arc Children’s Centre.
Through the time we have spent at the Centre, we have also built strong bonds with many of the children.”
– Benny Chan Head of Channels Singapore, UOB

Enriching Lives at Arc Children’s Centre
UOB has been a committed corporate partner since 2011 and has raised close to $500,000 for Arc Children’s Centre. This has helped to give 270 children access to Arc’s extensive programmes, including speech therapy and physiotherapy, which cater to different needs and stage of development. It has also helped defray the costs of providing transportation and fun activities.

Fostering Bonds Beyond Donation
In addition to raising funds for the Centre, UOB employees including those in the Bank’s Group Channels and Digitalisation function have also enthusiastically set aside time to spend with the children at the Centre over the years. Mr Benny Chan, Head of Channels Singapore, UOB, said:

“At UOB, giving back to the community, especially in the areas of children, education and art, is ingrained in our corporate culture.
Over the years we have established a close partnership with Arc Children’s Centre.
Through the time we have spent at the Centre, we have also built strong bonds with many of the children.”

Dedicating 4,000 Hours Annually for Arc’s Cause

“The deep relationship between UOB employees and the children at Arc can be seen in their voluntary contributions.”

Every year, UOB staff collectively devote more than 4,000 hours to raising funds for Arc’s beneficiaries, be it through bake sales, flea markets, art exhibitions or even car wash services.

Spreading Joy: UOB’s Vibrant Events at Arc Children’s Centre
We have also organised events such as Christmas parties at Arc, where we host magic shows, puppet shows and dress up as mascots to ensure that the children have a good time. Before the pandemic, we also joined the children on day trips to places such as the Singapore Flyer. Our colleagues have said that the most rewarding part of these events is the opportunity to spend time with the children and to learn from their strength and tenacity in the face of adversity. The work that Arc is doing to help children in need and its values of compassion, support and commitment continue to resonate deeply with us as a values-led bank. We look forward to many more years of partnership with Arc and to build deeper bonds with the children at the Centre.”

Arc’s long term CSR partner, SATS, since 2011 has been providing daily nourishment of special meals to children, igniting hope and resilience.

Mother Teresa once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” The team at SATS took that mantra to heart and exceeded all expectations of generosity with their commitment to provide lunch for the Arc children since 2011. SATS began their meaningful mission partnering Arc for CSR, providing nourishing meals for the children at Arc.

SATS Commits to Nutritional Excellence: A Testament to Compassionate Service

“During our first visit to the centre, we observed thatthe children indeed needed good, nutritional meals to help in their recovery and enable them to grow strong, so we decided to come onboard,”

shared Lee Cher Heng, VP of Defence Catering and Services at SATS. “For all of us here at SATS, every little effort counts, and we are blessed that we can contribute to these children’s needs. We have plenty of joy and satisfaction knowing that they are growing healthy and strong and are closer to leading a normal life with good nutrition,” he added.

Culinary Care: SATS Chefs Tailor Meals to Enrich Arc Children’s Lives
SATS receives regular reports from Arc on the positive feedback from the children on the food which certainly uplifts their in-house chefs. “These reports really make our team’s day as they know the children appreciate the meals, they have specially prepared for them.”

Delightful Dining: SATS Sparks Joy with Nutritious Meals at Arc

“In fact, we are greatly encouraged to hear that the children would happily announce to the others that they were going for their third or fourth round of food each day.”

We also heard that once a child refused to eat pasta at home for his dinner and insisted on returning to Arc to have his meal. Another time, a child came for seconds and exclaimed, “Delicious!”, much to the delight and amusement of the staff since it was such a big word for that young child!” laughs Cher Heng.

Inspiring Futures: SATS Nurtures Arc Children’s Dreams Beyond Recovery
The SATS team is also encouraged that those children who have grown from Arc to go on to mainstream schools are currently aspiring to study medicine as they want to help other children recover from illnesses. On the shorter term, many have returned during their school holidays to mentor and care for the younger ones, highlighting a lovely cycle of care that continues.

Empowering Growth: SATS and Arc Forge a Path of Hope and Resilience
Finally, Cher Heng and team remain motivated by how the centre has started with a clear end goal in mind, which is to support children in medical need and to help each child to grow to their fullest potential to benefit the wider community. Cher Heng concluded, “The fact that Arc is growing stronger each year bears testament to the team’s excellent and tireless work despite the daily ups and downs.

Our deepest respect and loudest applause to all of you at Arc who have given your unfailing love and have worked tirelessly with much sacrifice – all for your beloved children!”

bus drawing