Cancer-stricken classmate dies before he gets surprise

Cancer-stricken classmate dies before he gets surprise

Stricken with cancer, the teenager was fighting for his life. Friends of Bellamy Tan, 15, turned to social media to express their wishes for him to get well.

This spread like wildfire and soon, thousands of people across the island were tweeting their wishes on Twitter, regardless of whether they knew him or not.

On Monday night, "PrayforBellamy" was one of the trending topics for Singapore on the micro-blogging site.

A trending topic is one of 10 top words or phrases tweeted by users at that point in time.

Despite their prayers and hopes for a miracle, Bellamy succumbed to a type of muscle cancer yesterday morning and died.

The Secondary 4 student at Hougang Secondary School had been diagnosed with the cancer in 2009.

His mother posted the news on social networking site Facebook just after 7am yesterday, and his friends were alerted to it.

Mr Fong Kim Wah, one of the school's vice-principals, said a small commotion broke out among his classmates because some did not get the Facebook update.

Sad update

He told The New Paper yesterday evening: "Some students said they received it, some said it was not possible. They did not want to believe it."

A co-form teacher, Madam Martini, said: "There was no normality in class today."

Bellamy's cheerful and friendly disposition endeared people to him, added another co-form teacher, Mr Paul Jeremiah.

They highlighted a few of the many instances where Bellamy's motivation and selflessness touched them.

For one, his filial piety.

Said Madam Martini: "I accompanied the students to Siam Reap, Cambodia, for their overseas service learning trip.

"He came down with a high fever on the last day, but his priority was still to get something for his parents."

Bellamy was allowed to go on the five-day trip in May last year only after he pleaded with the school.

The school, concerned about his physical health, was hesitant at first.

But after Bellamy got his mother and doctor to write a note, the school decided to let him go, said Mr Fong.

He added: "Bellamy was at the stage of recovery and he requested to join. I was worried that the work would be too harsh for him."

Part of the trip required students to build a 100m fence and dig a trench for a school in the rural area.


But Bellamy did not take his illness as an excuse and he got his hands dirty with the rest of his classmates.

Said Madam Martini: "He persevered until even we were afraid for his well-being.

"But he really appreciated the chance to be with his classmates."

Bellamy suffered a relapse some time after the trip, but still turned up for class.

Said Mr Jeremiah: "He never made excuses, always handed up his homework on time. I don't think he has any demerit points.

"He was always among the top six students in the class of 42 students.

"But at the end of last year, his condition worsened and he was excused from school."

Bellamy was supposed to return to school on Monday and his classmates, eager to welcome their friend, made arrangements to carry him and his wheelchair to and from their classroom on the second storey.

They also agreed to be his buddy during recess.

Plans were made to install a camera in the classroom this week, so his mother could see him and feel assured that he was safe.

They were also prepared to have a video link so Bellamy could keep up with lessons from home, said Madam Martini.

Said Mr Jeremiah: "Even the latecomers told me they wanted to come at 7.15am to help Bellamy."

But Bellamy was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the National University Hospital on Thursday.

Madam Martini and Mr Jeremiah visited him on Friday and over the weekend, accompanied by some of their students.

'No longer lucid'

Said Madam Martini: "He was lucid on those three days. But on Monday, he was no longer lucid. He was somewhere else."

Holding back her tears, she added: "You have no idea how heartbreaking it was. On the way back, the tissue box in the car was being emptied."

On Monday afternoon, his classmates started folding paper cranes for Bellamy as an expression of their wellwishes for him.

Class monitor Peh Hui Xin, 15, said: "We wanted to fold and hang the cranes in the ICU, but he died.

"We continued folding for him anyway. We will continue until we go to his wake."

The class, joined by other schoolmates, wanted to fold 1,000 cranes. They exceeded that figure yesterday.

Said Hui Xin: "He is a quiet boy. A good friend, a good buddy. When I visited him on Friday, he said he wanted to come back and take his N levels.

"On Monday, it was like he lost control of himself. He got very agitated when I went into the room and we had to calm him down."

Before he slipped away, Bellamy told his mother to give his classmates a message.

"He said, 'Tell the class to finish their N levels for me,'" said Madam Martini. "He really wanted to finish his exams and do it well."

Bellamy's family was too distraught to speak yesterday. He is the eldest of three sons.

Recalling Bellamy's trademark grin, Mr Jeremiah said: "When everyone else is up to no good, he will just smile. If anything, it is his smile that I will remember. I have never seen him angry or offended.

"He is such a blessing."


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