PSLE results: He does it despite months in hospital

PSLE results: He does it despite months in hospital
Bedok Green Primary pupil Skye Poh with his sisters Pheobe (left) and Phyllis. Skye, who has glycogen storage disease and spent five months in hospital this year, qualified for the Express stream.

When 12-year-old Skye Poh was advised to postpone taking the PSLE by a year, he said no.

"I was bored staying at home," he said.

Never mind that the Bedok Green Primary pupil spent five months this year in hospital, after receiving part of his mother's liver in February. Or that he had just two months to study for the exam when he returned to school in July, having to wear a face mask each time he left his home to prevent getting an infection.

These challenges did not stop Skye, who was born with glycogen storage disease, from scoring 189 on Friday - good enough for the Express stream.

"Not once did he use his condition as an excuse to not do certain things," said Mr Ng Chee Kiong, his form teacher since Primary 3. "He was always motivated and enthusiastic."

The rare disease, which breaks down the muscles, liver and cell types, has left Skye with a height of 1.2m, and he often gets mistaken for a Primary 1 pupil.

"He was even smaller before the operation, and could not reach the taps in the toilets," said Mr Ng, 37, who assigned buddies to look out for Skye.

The mathematics teacher also organised coaching sessions for him and a few other classmates.

When he was in Primary 5 last year, Skye even had to wear a feeding tube in school because the disease made him lose his appetite. His grandmother came to school to feed him every day.

His 36-year-old parents could not be more proud on Friday.

"He had only two months to prepare for the exams and he did it," said his mother Joanne Ng, a housewife with two younger daughters. His father Thomas Poh operates a food stall.

Skye is the first in the family to contract the genetic disease, but is not the only one with it. He was diagnosed before he turned two, when Ms Ng was pregnant with her second child, Phyllis.

Now 10, Phyllis has been diagnosed with the same condition. Ms Ng, who was told by doctors that she could not donate her liver a second time, has a seven-year- old who is free of the condition.

The siblings are close, and often play together in their semi-detached house in Tanah Merah, said the bubbly Skye, who added: "I also help them in school work."

He now hopes to get a place in St Andrew's Secondary School. "I have a good friend who also wants to go there," he said.

But he also harbours another hope. Towards the end of the interview, he said: "Can I add something? I hope a living donor will donate a liver to my sister.

"Nobody else in my family is a match."

leepearl@sph.com.sg


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