Raymond Howe, a second time cancer patient is racing to conquer cancer. 19 years ago, what started as a malignant skin cancer developed into advanced stage and spread to his brain and left lung. The subsequent 3 years was a dark period as Raymond struggled to cope with intensive chemotherapy. He decided to commit suicide and planned his departure with a suicide note. In his abyss of sorrow, he found the book "It’s Not About the Bike" by Lance Armstrong. Inspired by Lance's battle against cancer and subsequent comeback to the top of his sport, his charity work through his foundation - Livestrong Foundation, showed Raymond a new meaning to life. The book and the foundation gave him the idea of raising funds for charity through sports.
He was reminded of his late younger brother, who has a way of supporting the less fortunate through his school pocket money. His brother died of cancer at the age of 19, and Raymond wanted to continue his legacy. Raymond participated in his first Olympic-distance (1.5km swim, 40km cycle, 10km run) triathlon in Miami despite the lack of training. Using a $49.99 bicycle bought from Walmart just two days before the race, he unknowingly embarked on the first of many races to come. Though he finished last, it mattered little to him, for his spirits were lifted as the crowd cheered him on. He was overjoyed in crossing the finish line and felt that he could do even better.
Today, Raymond has participated in over 200 triathlons, marathons, Ironmans, swims and cycling races while working as a COO of a real estate investment and hospitality company. The shock he felt upon receiving news of another cancer in 2016 lasted just a couple of seconds. He has been mentally prepared as he was told the chance of a recurrence is high. This time it was thyroid cancer. Instead of spiraling into despair, he went ahead with an overseas marathon at the Great Wall of China, 12 days before his scheduled surgery to remove both his thyroids. It was later discovered that the cancer had spread to his neck. He continued to compete in other races shortly after undergoing surgery and treatment.
Having faced cancer twice, he navigates the journey to recovery like how he would in his endurance races: not letting fear and anxiety cloud his mind. To this day, he still kept his suicide note as a reminder that God has given him a new lease of life for a reason, and he hopes that through this participation in Relay Majulah, the act of generosity and kindness can be instilled in every Singaporean’s heart.
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