Life after cancer can be complicated. Treatment may be done and dusted, but the road to recovery can be a long one, paved with many emotional paths to navigate.
Many of our community members look to each other – people who have faced a cancer diagnosis – for guidance on how to move through the cancer experience. From side effects of cancer treatment to coping emotionally, the sense that someone else has ‘been there, done that’ can be a source of great comfort and help when facing the unknown.
We’re thrilled to have caught up with Sylvia Ng, mother, breast cancer survivor and founder. Diagnosed with breast cancer at 35, Sylvia has gone on to found Amidira, a company that specialises in a line of research-backed care gift boxes to help cancer patients. She’s shared her story with us in the hope that it reminds others that you can thrive after cancer.
Sylvia never imagined breast cancer would happen to her. She was a young mother with a successful career in tech, so she never thought the issues she had with breastfeeding would lead to a cancer diagnosis.
As an incredibly data-oriented person, Sylvia handled the news of her diagnosis the only way she knew how: by learning everything she could. The things she learned helped her feel more in control of the situation and opened her eyes to the gaps in information and support that existed in cancer communities.
Sylvia supplemented her treatment and recovery with self-care including diet and lifestyle changes, all of which were backed by scientific evidence. What she found, however, was just how hard this information was to come by. It simply wasn’t available to all cancer patients… or at least not to those who weren’t quite as curious as she was. Instead, it became clear there were gaps between the conversations patients were having, the data Sylvia was finding, and the literature available via the hospitals and doctors.
It was this that inspired Sylvia to create Amidira and marry the data-backed science she had found with a holistic approach to cancer care.
Her cancer diagnosis took its toll, especially when it came to her two little boys. Sylvia found herself in tears quite often and adjusting to being vulnerable was a new experience for her. She says, “I like to be the person who is taking care of the kids at home, taking care of and leading the team at work. Being a vulnerable person all of a sudden was a very weird thing.”
That newfound vulnerability is certainly something many of our own community members can relate to.
Another lesson Sylvia learnt during her cancer diagnosis was that it can be so hard to say and do the right thing. Her colleagues weren’t sure how to react to the news. Her ‘aunties’ chided her lifestyle choices. Although well-intentioned, some of the help and advice she received was anything but. Taking a look at the market, it quickly became clear just how limited options were for those who wanted to help and support their loved ones. She vowed to do better.
Amidira, a twist on the name Amadora (meaning “gifts of love”), was born as one cancer
survivor’s gift to others. From all of the research Sylvia conducted at the start of her diagnosis to help her feel in control, she developed products with purpose.
Alongside the physical products, Sylvia’s hope is that Amidira can be a brand that supports those going through cancer to advocate for their own care and feel less alone. Something that absolutely aligns with our mission here at War On Cancer.
We asked Sylvia what advice she’d give to someone who has just finished treatment. This is what she had to say:
“You go through a lot to get through treatment. When you’re done, my advice would be to just allow yourself to be. However you are, and whatever you’re doing, it’s ok. Give yourself time to adjust to a new normal and figure out next steps.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Amidira is committed to working with organisations that improve the lives of those diagnosed with cancer. They have worked with Pancreatic Cancer Canada, Rethink Breast Cancer, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Momentive.ai and donate partial proceeds from sales to cancer research.