Zaric Foo, Caregiver of Jarenn Foo, Childhood Cancer Survivor and CCF Volunteer
Every time his son, Jarenn, was admitted to hospital, Zaric Foo would pack a suitcase and move into KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital with him. He would sleep on a sofa bed next to Jarenn, showering and taking all his meals in hospital and only going home for a fresh set of clothes over the weekend.
In the children’s ward, where most children were accompanied by their mothers, Zaric initially felt very unsettling to be the only male caregiver staying on most nights. “At first I wondered what people would think of me,” he says.
Zaric’s concern was quickly replaced by the daily battle against Leukaemia, which put Jarenn through multiple near-death experiences.
Once, Jarenn experienced two seizures within a single night. He lost his vision for three days due to the swelling of his brain as a result of chemotherapy. In another episode, a lung infection landed Jarenn in hospital for 51 days.
During those difficult times when Jarenn was bedridden, Zaric stayed by his son at the hospital, taking care of his every need, including the changing of diapers. The bond between the father and son grew stronger as they spent virtually every waking minute together.
“My father was always beside me, we talked a lot and shared a lot of things. He was there for me when I was struggling,” says 18-year-old Jarenn, who is now pursuing a Diploma in Baking and Culinary Science.
And Zaric, who was once painfully shy, found his voice to help other parents cope with their child’s cancer.
“When I first knew about Jarenn’s diagnosis, I feared the worst due to lack of information and understanding. I only learnt that cancer is curable after talking to doctors and finding out more about it. In the ward, I started to share this information with other caregivers,” says Zaric.
With Jarenn’s cancer behind him now, the duo remains close, shaving their heads together in support of Hair for Hope, and cherishing every day they have together.
Zaric says, “We take things very easy now. Nothing is as important and dear as each of our family members.”
Read more inspiring stories of our CCF stakeholders at https://www.ccf.org.sg/humansofccf/index.html.