Heartwarming story of the year: Brothers battle against disorder

Despite the bleak turn of events in 2016, there is much reason to cheer as uplifting stories about the human spirit triumphing over adversity resonated with our readers.

Singapore saw its first anonymous liver donation this year when 54-year-old security concierge Mr Lim Kok Seng donated his organ to 16-year-old Lim Si Jia. Until then, all liver donations were directed by the donor to a known recipient - until Mr Lim broke the rules with his selfless act for a complete stranger.

In the west, three siblings made the news when they donated $500 to an elderly stallholder affected by the Jurong market fire that destroyed a market and coffeeshop. Even though it was a paltry sum, Trinity Ong, 10, her brothers Noah, 8, and Caspar, 5, pooled their piggy bank savings to help Mr Neo Chwee Eng, 81.

Siblings Trinity Ong, 10, Noah, 8, and Caspar, 5, with Mr Neo Chwee Eng and his wife, and the envelope containing the donation. The three children emptied their piggy banks and with their parents' top-up, donated $500 to Mr Neo who lost his yong tau foo stall at the wet market at Blk 493 Jurong West Street 41 to a fire. Photo: The New Paper

But our pick for the story that tugged our heartstrings this year is about two brothers struggling with a rare neurological condition that affected their mobility. With a reach of over 1.3 million people and 375,000 views, Kenneth's and Eugene's story of perseverance evidently serves as an inspiration to many.

1 navy diver, 1 commando, 2 brothers

  • Kenneth was a regular in the navy. The Diver's Creed is framed and featured prominently on his wall at home.
  • Portrait of Kenneth during his national service days with the Republic of Singapore Navy.
  • Kenneth with his proud parents during his commissioning parade.
  • Kenneth was part of the Colours Party contingent during the commissioning parade.
  • Portrait of Eugene during his national service days with the Singapore Armed Forces Commandoes Formation.
  • Eugene's ceremonial sword and red beret encased and displayed in his home.

The brothers' mountaineering days with CJC Odac

  • Kenneth and his schoolmates during an expedition with catholic Junior College's Outdoor Adventure Club (ODAC).
  • Eugene also joined the same club when he entered CJC two years later.
  • CJC ODAC was known for its vigorous training programme, where members had to run 5km daily at the crack of dawn. The club also dominated top positions in adventure races and NTU's annual National Vertical Marathon competition. The school has since closed the club in 2013.