Making a new friend while learning about cerebral palsy

Edgefield Primary pupil Bryan Chew (centre) and his new friend, Omar Azman (in wheelchair), interacting with Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin. Omar has cerebal palsy. (PHOTO: Yahoo Singapore / Safhras Khan)

Ten-year-old Bryan Chew Qibin had not heard of cerebral palsy until Thursday  (24 November).

However, thanks to the “Walk from the Heart, Walk with a Goal” event, the Edgefield Primary School pupil now not only understands the condition but has also made a new friend in Omar Azman, 21, who suffers from the disease.

Bryan was one of more than 500 schoolchildren and parents who spent their Thursday morning meeting and interacting with people with cerebal palsy.

The event, organised by Mercu Learning Point and held at Yishun Stadium, saw the pupils spending their morning taking a 3km walk from the stadium to the Lower Seletar Reservoir Park before heading to the Yishun Sports Complex for some indoor games. A football tournament for the pupils also took place at the main stadium.

The charity walk was aimed at teaching the pupils the importance of giving back to the society. A part of the proceeds from ticket sales, amounting to $7,000, was also donated to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS).

Learning journey

For Bryan, the event took on another meaning as Omar is his first friend that has cerebral palsy.

“I was surprised that cerebral palsy exists and I want to do more to help people with the condition,” said Bryan as the pair took a break from playing games together.

Bryan spent the morning pushing Omar around on his wheelchair as they mingled with other students and played games. “I would like to help those (suffering from cerebral palsy) and I think I will volunteer to help them soon,” he said.

Omar appreciated the efforts of his newfound friend and the duo were seen chatting with each other as they went about the sports hall. “He is a nice boy and I am happy to be part of the carnival today. I really enjoyed playing games together with Bryan,” said Omar.

Another Edgefield Primary pupil who was at the carnival was Nur Batrisya Shariffudin, 11. She said that seeing the challenges that people with cerebral palsy face made her determined to help them.

“For today, I will spend time to play with them but in the future I want to do more. Maybe I will start by donating money to the charity,” she said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin applauded Mercu Learning Point’s efforts, adding that it is important to inculcate good values at a young age.

Amrin, who was the event’s guest of honour praised the efforts to raise funds for a good cause. “It is a good token and a good measure of the heart of the children, bearing in mind that they are still in primary school,” said Amrin, who is also the Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC.