She fought with oil pastels

SURVIVOR: (Above) Siti Rasyidah Lokman Hadan’s artwork is now part of MOHH’s corporate gifts.

Siti Rasyidah Lokman Hadan's life grew dark after she was diagnosed, at age 13, with a debilitating disease that has since ravaged her body.

Two years later, Miss Siti Rasyidah (inset) turned to art - drawing with oil pastels.

Now, four of the 23-year-old's art pieces are used in namecard holders, coasters and other corporate gifts that MOH Holdings (MOHH) gives to visitors.

It has been a tough journey for Miss Siti Rasyidah.

At 13, she was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, which caused her immune system to attack her body.

A year later, her kidneys failed and she needed dialysis - peritoneal every day and haemodialysis twice a week.

At 18, she was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, an inflammatory bowel disease.

At 21, her heart "decided not to function properly", partly due to her kidney failure and she had to have a pacemaker put in, she said.

In May, she had a kidney transplant.

Miss Siti Rasyidah has been in and out of the National University Hospital (NUH) so often she even calls it her second home. But she never gave up.

"I admit that I am not the easiest patient in the world. I get moody and upset, especially when my body throws up one challenge after another," she said.

It was her mother who forced paper and oil pastels on her.

"I started drawing. It is through my artwork that my feelings get converted into energy," she said.

She began drawing in 2007 and started taking part in NUH's Project Dreamcatchers in 2012, which helps young patients deal with chronic illnesses through art.

"It makes me less stressed. My mum says each time I start drawing, it means I have something on my mind," she said.


This article was first published on Oct 9, 2015.
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