Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Netizens mourn blogger's death

Netizens mourn blogger's death
Tue, Jan 06, 2009
The New Paper

THEY did not know her.

Yet, dozens of netizens found they could empathise with Miss Shandy Sim, a 30-year-old bank manager who blogged about her six-month battle with cancer.

Sadly, her story ended last week with the post: 'Shandy passed away this morning. We were all beside her when she left us peacefully.'

Her brother, Mr Edmund Sim, 28, a banking executive, had written this to inform those who had been following Miss Sim's online account of what turned out to be her last weeks.

She died of cervical cancer on 26Dec.

Mr Sim told The New Paper on Sunday that his sister was much loved by family and friends, with 80 mourners turning up for her funeral on Tuesday.

More than 10 strangers also sent condolences through the blog and text messages to Mr Sim.

The end came just six months after a cancerous mass was discovered on Miss Sim's pelvis. In June, she began feeling pain in her left leg.

Mr Sim said: 'Initially, she thought it was aching muscles as she had gym sessions. She had a healthy lifestyle and never drank or smoked.

'Only when her leg swelled up did we go for a medical check. By then, doctors said her cancer was at Stage3.'

What followed were four days of crying as the illness ended Miss Sim's hopes of having children.

Soon after being diagnosed, Miss Sim, who was single and lived in a Tanglin condominium, set up a blog on her fight with cancer and her optimism that she would win the battle.

The blog, at http://shandysim.blogspot.com, touched the hearts of many netizens because of its positive attitude towards life and death, said her brother.

Titled 'Adventures of Radioactive Girl', the blog details her experiences while undergoing chemotherapy.

Despite the pain and discomfort, Miss Sim still managed to inject humour into her posts.

In one post, she wrote that she had lost a lot of weight after chemotherapy, ending the post by saying, 'Am waiting for Marie France Slimming Centre to endorse me. hehehe.'

In another, she wrote about losing control of her bladder while on heavy sedatives.

'My mum and aunt had put me in these amazingly huge diapers. I totally hate them. Not that I don't have a choice about wearing them. I can live in the loo. Haha,' she wrote.

Before getting cancer, Miss Sim was a high flyer in a bank, becoming a branch manager at the age of 25. She earned enough to holiday in London every summer and drive a Saab car.

Mr Sim said his sister had a passion for her job.

He said: 'She was very much like the young executive - full of confidence and passion for her job and life. My sister enjoyed working where she felt important and her contribution to the company was never left unnoticed.

'Never once did I hear her say she was tired from working.'


Miss Sim also went through early menopause as her reproductive system shut down.

In one entry, she quipped: 'I am most probably your youngest menopausing friend.'

Her blog gained a following, so much so that fellow cancer sufferers offered to visit her in the National University Hospital, saying they understood what she was going through.

As the cancer spread through her body, Miss Sim became too weak to update her blog and her brother took over from 20Oct.

Even then, her family wanted those who came to visit to project a positive attitude by wearing brightly coloured clothes and avoiding solemn expressions.

By mid-December, doctors told Miss Sim's family to be mentally prepared to lose her as the cancer had spread to more parts of her body.

She died on the morning of Boxing Day, surrounded by her family.

This article was first published in The New Paper on Jan 4, 2009.