Sticking together in sickness and in health

PHOTO: Sticking together in sickness and in health

In 2004, financial adviser Aaron Tay was diagnosed with kidney failure and began dialysis sessions.

The 31-year-old's thrice- weekly sessions at a dialysis centre in the northern part of Singapore led him to the woman he would eventually marry.

His wife, Ms Sharon Zhang, was then a nurse at the centre. The couple went on group outings with fellow nurses and patients from the centre until Mr Tay decided to ask her out on a movie date in 2007.

Said Mr Tay, who has also suffered from an autoimmune disease called lupus since he was eight: "Her straight-talking and unguarded ways attracted me over time."

While their friendship blossomed, his health slowly deteriorated. He said: "I was dying. The doctor told me I had only five years to live."

It was also then that Ms Zhang, who had been in Singapore for eight years, dropped the bombshell that she intended to return to her home town in Wuhan, China, for good.

Over the next 11/2 months, he sent her countless letters and made overseas calls to woo her back.

Ms Zhang, now 33, eventually returned.

Mr Tay, who then had to undergo a kidney transplant in order to save his life, said: "I asked her if she would marry me if I made it out alive. She said 'yes'." Mr Tay has since been given a clean bill of health.

The couple, who have been married for three years, are expecting a pair of twins in May.

For Valentine's Day today, Mr Tay plans to whip up a dinner of chicken-wonton noodles at their Bishan home, in a show of love for his wife.

He told my paper: "My cooking skills aren't great but, yes, I'll do it."

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