Taufan might be the strongest kid you’ll ever meet. He’s seven-years-old now, but he’s been fighting leukemia since he was five. He won’t back down. His strength gives the other kids strength.
Taufan is actually so strong he doesn’t have to stay at Rumah Sakit Cipto, in Salemba, anymore. Cipto normally houses anywhere between 40 and 50 children fighting cancer, leukemia and other critical illnesses. Tuafan only has to travel by bus with his mum from Bekasi every few weeks for chemotherapy. He drops in, stays a few nights, jokes with the nurses, wins over volunteers and then heads back to his friends and family before he has to do it all over again next month.
What makes Taufan stand out is his undaunted outlook. He’s too busy living to worry about what could happen tomorrow. He’s never sad. He doesn’t complain. He smiles through the pain.
But Taufan’s story isn’t a sad one. Taufan is out of the woods, his hair is growing back and he’s getting ready to enroll again in school.
There are dozens of kids like Taufan who would love to interact with volunteers willing to come by and spend a few hours, reading, chit-chatting and telling jokes. And luckily there are plenty of volunteer organizations looking for people who can give of their time. Organizations like Mary’s Cancer Kiddies, Yayasan Kasih Anak Kanker Indonesia, Three Little Angels are always looking for volunteers, ideas and energy.
Another reason volunteering at places like Cipto are important is that volunteers give the parents a much-needed break from the overwhelming duty of caring for their children. Most parents, including Taufan’s cannot work because taking care of Taufan is a 24-hour job. Taufan’s dad used to be a driver, but lost his job when he had to take work off to travel with his son to the hospital.
There are a million ways to give back, but what we don’t recognize is what we get while we think we are giving. Taufan has taught the nurses, volunteers, parents and other children at Cipto that there is nothing we can’t overcome, to smile at whatever life gives us and most of all to never give up no matter what life throws at us.