Dwan Kwan supported her parents through their cancer journey. She also fought her own battle with breast cancer. She now helps cancer patients with their worries after being diagnosed.
What’s your story?
I was at the peak of my life when I was diagnosed with cancer at 34 years of age – had a great career (was promoted), I was enjoying motherhood with my son and 10-weeks pregnant with my 2nd child (considered as a promotion too!). Overnight, without warning, my world crashed. I was diagnosed with Stage 2B Breast Cancer. My father was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer within a week of my diagnosis.
I supported both my parents in their personal journey with cancer too. Both were diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer at a different time. My father was diagnosed within a week of my own diagnosis in June 2011. He passed away a year after. My mother passed away recently this year after a good battle for close to a year.
I lost my career, my hair, my direction in life…. For a while. Till I saw that Cancer is not a death sentence but a 2nd lease of life turning IMPOSSIBLE to I’M-POSSIBLE.
What excites you most about your industry?
My personal life journey is my best credentials for what I do. The medical professionals can provide medical care but support for emotional and psychological issues form an important part of treatment. And that’s the value I bring to people whom I cross path with – turning devastation into a new lease of life. Seeing light at the end of the tunnel after the cancer diagnosis. YANA Cancer Support wants to shout out to people just diagnosed with Cancer that “You Are Not Alone”! Don’t suffer alone, let me help you.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m authentically Asia. Born and bred in sunny island Singapore.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. A place I call home. A city where her culture embraces growth and diversity and yet, forms her values around culture and tradition. This is also my philosophy in life – remain open and vulnerable to learn and yet, building values around a core foundation.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
From an inspirational poem “Don’t Quit”. “Rest if you must but don’t quit. It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”
Who inspires you?
My parents. They are my pillars of strength and inspiration, My father taught me the importance of financial responsibilities and planning from a very young age. His accomplishment in life is an example of the saying “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” (by Lao Tzu). My mother is an epitome of how life can be simple and wonderful. She lived life to the fullest with zest and joy. Doing things purely from a place of love and with a giving mindset. I am the fruit of their labour – both my parents. I’ve built my philosophy of life around theirs.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
We never know when our time on earth ends. So live it up well today. That’s why it is called the PRESENT.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Worry less. Care more.
Less of saying ‘later’ and more of ‘let’s do now’.
How do you unwind?
I spend time with my children. Doing things we love together – swim, badminton, taking walks in the garden, visit the playground, explore new places, doing art and craft, watching tv show and planning vacations.
I love finding new inspiring stories. It is good therapy to find renewed strength. Most times we doubt ourselves but will be more convinced when we see results / transformations in others. Leveraging is key.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Hong Kong. For food and also a place where I hold fond memories of my childhood travels with my family (father and mother).
Everyone in business should read this book:
The trilogy of Nick’s inspiring life
– Give Me A Hug
– Dream Big
– Believe, Belong, Become
This book set is authentic, sharing the life story of Nick and how he overcame adversities to conquer his dreams, Written so simply, yet inspiring that even a child can understand.
Shameless plug for your business:
You have just received the news from your doctor, “I’m sorry. The growth is malignant. It’s cancer.”
Your world just crashed. You’re suffering alone and you don’t know what you don’t know.
You Are Not Alone. Let me help you, turn your cancer devastation into optimism and turn what seems like a death sentence into a new lease of life in 3 months.
I can be your confidante to help you work through your worries one at a time.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.