Travelling care bear

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Actor Ungku Ismail Aziz will be travelling around the world in a new telemovie with a catchy title, Travelling Beruang, set to air in October over TV3. But the dashing 30-year-old star of popular drama series Teman Lelaki Upahan, will be doing more than just jet-setting – it will be to spread awareness for children who are afflicted with cancer. In Travelling Beruang, which starts filming on June 21, Ungku Ismail plays a father who loses his daughter to cancer. When he meets Aishah, the child of a friend, who is afflicted with the same life-threatening disease, he decides to fulfil her wish of travelling the world. As her illness restricts her movements, she can only do so through her favourite teddy bear. This sets him off to undertake a journey on behalf of Aishah, with bear in tow to record his exploits for the little girl. When met at a press conference to launch the Travelling Beruang Campaign at Empire Hotel Subang yesterday, Ungku Ismail explained that he got an idea to do more after he started researching for his role in the upcoming telemovie.

“I was looking to get a feel of what goes through the mind of a father who is dealing with his still living child suffering from cancer,” he said. This led him to the discovery of 7-year-old leukaemia patient, Nur Hasmime Abdul Hamid, fondly known as Mime, after watching an episode of Bersamamu through the Tonton portal, that touched his heart. “I knew I had to do more to spread the awareness of cancer which afflicts a lot of children in this country,” said the Johorean actor.

Ungku Ismail first started a small initiative by sharing her story on his Instagram account and got his fans to wear medical face masks as a show of solidarity to cancer patients who have to wear them for the purpose of hygiene.

This caught the attention of TV3, which interviewed him via its Malaysia Hari Ini show last month, resulting in corporate support for the noble campaign.

“I went to visit Mime and her parents in Kelantan and I was devastated,” he said, adding that he had to hold back tears when listening to her parents talk about their experience.

First diagnosed with leukaemia in 2012, Mime, the youngest of five siblings, is now at Stage 4 of her illness. She is currently being treated at Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital in Kubang Krian.
Ungku Ismail added that her two other brothers have since also been diagnosed with cancer.

“After going through expensive special chemotherapy treatment, Mime is now stable but she can relapse at any time,” he said. He added: “So I’m very thankful to all who have contributed and helped in making this campaign a reality.”

Launched in conjunction with the upcoming telemovie, the Travelling Beruang Campaign is led by TV3 with AirAsia as its main sponsor and Altel as co-sponsor. Replicas of the teddy bear in the telemovie will be sold on AirAsia’s flights and the proceeds will be channelled to the Travelling Beruang Fund to help children afflicted with cancer. As part of the campaign, Ungku Ismail will be flying to seven destinations, including Perth (Australia), Lombok (Indonesia), Siem Reap (Cambodia), Chongqing (China) and Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), with a teddy bear that was a gift to Mime. The bear is expected to be a symbol of hope for Mime as well as other children who are also in the same boat as her. His inspirational travels will be chronicled through short capsule videos and pictures that will be made available on the official Travelling Beruang (www.travellingberuang.com.my) website, and aired on TV3.

“I’m doing this not as an artiste or actor but as an earnest and regular human being and I hope that the public will support this project by contributing their time and money to further spread the awareness for cancer that afflicts children,” he said.

Donations can be made out to the Maybank account Tabung Travelling Beruang MAKNA (Account number: 514075616705). Visit www.travellingberuang.com.my for more info.

(From left) Makna General Manager Farahida Mohd Farid, TV3 and TV9 Group General Manager Sherina Nordin, Ungku Ismail Aziz, AirAsia Berhad Head of Commercial Spencer Lee and Altel Communications Sdn Bhd CEO Rizwal Mohd Ain at the launch of Travelling Beruang at Empire hotel, Subang. Pix by Mohd Khairul Helmy Mohd Din.