Motivational speaker, author Yvonne Foong dies at 33 after battling rare genetic disorder

Mark Ryan Raj
Yvonne Foong, 33, passed away earlier today after her 17 year battle with Neurofibromatosis type II. — Picture from Facebook/Yvonne Foong.

PETALING JAYA, Nov 11 — Motivational speaker and author Yvonne Foong who suffered from a rare genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis (NF) type II passed away earlier today at the age of 33 while asleep at her family home in PJ Old Town, Petaling Jaya.

Foong, whose inspirational tale came to light in July this year seeking financial aid through the sale of her own biographical books to help pay for her physiotherapy sessions and daily needs, had been left bedridden for more than a year after experiencing a bad fall.

Foong suffered from a rare genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis (NF) type II, which is a disorder that affects the growth and formation of nerve cells, as well as facilitating the growth of tumours in the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.

Despite being diagnosed with the disease when she was just 16, Foong spent her life actively raising awareness about the disorder through motivational talks and her two biographical novels, I’m Not Sick, Just A Bit Unwell and A Life Worth Living For.

Forced to give up ballet and figure skating because of NF, she also previously contributed articles and columns for various media organisations.

After experiencing a bad fall last year, Foong focused on selling off her remaining books to help fund her surgeries and treatments overseas.

However, after a long battle with NF, Foong, who was also deaf in one ear and visually impaired, eventually succumbed to the disease as she peacefully passed away while comforted by her mother Chia Kwee Que.

Social media users, who regarded Foong as an inspiration, shared their condolences as well as messages of support and comfort to her family on Facebook.

Many users said that Foong was an inspiration to many as she never let the disorder control her life, while others said that she had a “brave” and “courageous” soul.

Messages of love and support poured in for Foong’s family over social media after hearing of her passing. — Screengrab via Facebook/Yvonne Foong.

“Peace, comfort and love be with the entire family during this time. I still remember the first time I met Yvonne,” read one comment.

“A young lady who truly lived more in her 30 plus years than many do in an 80 year lifetime. May God bring comfort to all that are grieving and prayers that her message continues on as her legacy.”

For those who knew Foong and are eager to pay their respects, the wake will be conducted at her family home at No. 13, Jalan 1/12, PJ Old Town, on November 11 and 12 at 8:30pm, and at the Nirvana Crematorium in Shah Alam at 10am on November 13.

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