'She hoped to bring them luck': Lottery tickets given out at funeral 'party' of 38-year-old woman who died of lung cancer

PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

One woman was so determined to leave this world on a happy note that she turned her funeral into a party and requested for lottery tickets to be given out to loved ones who came to pay their respects.

Evelyn Hoi, 38, died of lung cancer recently after a short four-month battle with the disease.

Her husband Royston Lim, 41, told Shin Min Daily News at her wake on Monday (Oct 11) that his wife had complained of chest pains in June. After a trip to the doctor, they received the dreaded diagnosis that Hoi had late-stage lung cancer.

Lim said Hoi, who worked as a PR manager at a bank, did not smoke or drink and led a "regular life". He shared that one month before her diagnosis, she developed a slight cough but she brushed it off as a minor ailment.

As her cancer was detected at a late stage, her condition continued to deteriorate despite treatment. Ten days before her death, Hoi began planning her funeral, said Lim.

"We went with her plan, showing her sketches of the decorations, including the colours that she wanted," he said.

Her 43-year-old sister told the Chinese evening daily that Hoi had always been a helpful person with a heart for others. She didn't wish for others to be upset, so she wanted her funeral to be a "happy" occasion.

"She hoped to complete the final journey of her life surrounded by joy and positivity. We tried our best to fulfil her requests, including giving out gummy sweets to mourners instead of the traditional hard candy."

Hoi also had another unusual wish — for everyone who knew her to have a chance to strike the lottery. "She hoped to bring them good luck, so we bought 200 tickets," said her sister.

Indeed, Hoi's wake is a departure from the usual solemn affair.

Read Also
SingHealth doctor, 44, dies from leukaemia: She wanted to write letters to her 3 kids for every growing-up year she'd miss
SingHealth doctor, 44, dies from leukaemia: She wanted to write letters to her 3 kids for every growing-up year she'd miss

The wake was decorated with balloons, including large rainbow-shaped ones at each side of the altar. Even in her colour portrait, Hoi was pictured wearing a crown-like party hat.

At one corner against a balloon arch stood a giant cup of "bubble tea" — an impressive structure made up of many small balloons.

Hoi's favourite drink was bubble tea, explained her sister, and Hoi also instructed that bubble tea be prepared for her at the altar.

Her generosity to others extended to her personal belongings as well.

Lim said his wife had many branded bags and jewellery. Before her death, she arranged for the items to be distributed to friends and family as keepsakes.

Farewell letters

Six hours before her death, Hoi penned farewell letters to Lim, her parents, and sister, although she was in severe discomfort.

"She also requested that we read it only after she had passed," said Lim.

He shared that even the medical staff who looked after her were impressed with her positive spirit. He added that his wife was someone who was always considerate of others and seldom complained even if she was unhappy.

Her only regret was not being able to travel due to the pandemic.

"Marrying her is the luckiest thing that's happened to me," said Lim.

candicecai@asiaone.com