Her son was only 17 when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma cancer two years ago.
But Mrs Susan Chan did not let it get the better of her. Instead, the 53-year-old housewife chose to remain positive.
She is one of the 21 Mrs Singapore finalists unveiled on Monday for this year's pageant.
Seven other contestants aged 50 and above are also vying for the Classic Mrs Singapore title.
The finals for both pageants will be on May 10.
Mrs Chan told The New Paper: "As a mother, of course I was very scared and sad when I found out about my son's cancer.
"But the entire family did not cry in front of him as we did not want him to worry. My son faced it bravely and told me not to be scared.
"We believe in positive thinking. Even when he was in the hospital, we joked around with him and we were always laughing. I never, at any point, felt like giving up."
Mrs Chan dealt with the ordeal by keeping herself busy and she tried not to stay home alone.
Coincidentally, in the year her son's illness was diagnosed, she was approached by a getai organiser to perform.
The mother of three, who loves singing and dancing, agreed without hesitation.
"I performed at getais and still took care of my son. Time flew by quickly," she recalled.
"The hardest parts were the times when I was alone at home, because I would start thinking a lot. But I refused to do that, so I kept going out and occupied myself with things to do."
Fortunately, her son has been cancer-free for a year now after undergoing chemotherapy for six months.
Mrs Chan got to know about Mrs Singapore pageant after the organiser chanced upon her Facebook profile and asked her to audition for it.
She said: "I feel like this is the right year to join as I am at my most beautiful this year.
"My younger son is healthy again, my elder son has graduated and is a lawyer and my daughter is in Australia to further her studies. "I have time to myself now and I thought I'd give it a try since I was approached."
Her eldest son is 25 and her daughter is 21.
Her family members support her decision and have even agreed to assist her in different segments of the competition, including a cooking demonstration on stage with her 58-year-old marketing manager husband.
"They are not the kind who would openly express their feelings and they don't say mushy stuff to me. But they show it through their actions," she said.
"If I win, it will be a good and fresh start for me. I can also show that no matter how tough an obstacle is, you can overcome it with positive thinking and the right attitude."
This article was published on April 18 in The New Paper.
Get The New Paper for more stories.