Working hard for a meaningful cause

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Datuk Mohd Farid Ariffin founded the National Cancer Council (Makna) in 1994. Seeing his son battle leukaemia made him realise poor patients would have no chance of surviving the disease if they could not afford the treatments.
Below is Farid’s story in his own words:

“When cancer strikes a person it doesn’t strike just that person, it strikes the whole family. When it infected us, we had to travel as far as England. At that time, the treatment was not yet available in Malaysia. So, it was very expensive.
“Doctors said there was no other way to cure my son because it was in his marrow. The only medicine that could cure my son was within him. His mother and I could not help him because our marrow was not compatible. All I could do was cry.

From then on, I realised, we as human beings are blessed with so many gifts that even we could become part of a cure in a disease. That changed my life.
“I became a high-class beggar. I learned more about cancer, how to raise money and find new ways of treating cancer. Today, we’ve raised millions reaching as far as Vietnam to ensure cancer patients who could not get the treatments are getting better. At the same time, we are exploring new medications and approaches for cancer.
“I am not young anymore but this work has continued to encourage me because I know there are still many poor cancer patients. The support has been very good. We have been lucky. But we can be more lucky if more people can come to not only support the cure for cancer but to make it history.

“We encourage the public to help us raise money to do research, which is expensive because it takes so long and requires the intelligence of many. I hope the work now will pave the way for less expensive methods to treat cancer. I hope to live long enough to see this come true.
“But I am also worried about today’s lifestyle. Our eating habits. Work stress. The way we get angry at the slightest provocation My advice, ‘Take care of your body because its your own life’.
“Young people should be masters of their own destiny. They must not forget that they have the power to change things.

“I believe we learn from experience. I was born into a poor family. I broke the poverty line and became what I am today. God is so great. He will give you the gift of your own gift if you work hard enough. Once you are able to stand on your own feet, you should help others who are in need”. – By GRACE CHEN

Cash boost for cancer researchers

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The National Cancer Council of Malaysia (Makna) has awarded RM30,000 each to three scientists under its Cancer Research Award.
Dr Lim Yat Yuen, 30, from Universiti Malaya will use the award to continue his research on triple negative breast cancer.
It is the most aggressive of all cancer subtypes and the chances of survival are slim due to its rapid spread.
Dr Lim’s study will focus on cells at the edge of a tumour. He believes these cells are programmed differently compared to the ones located in the tumour centre. This may explain why they can invade healthy tissue and cause the cancer to spread.

“Hopefully, we may be able to find previously unreported genetic codes within these cells.
“Once we have an understanding of how they can gain such invasive properties, we will use the information for diagnosis and treatment,” he said.

Norlaily Mohd Ali, 29, a PhD student from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) is the second recipient. Her award is for studies on the role played by adult stem cells in bone cancer. In a healthy state, the function of adult stem cells is to repair damaged cells in other parts of the body. But in cancer patients, these very same ‘healing’ cells turn against the body by secreting deadly agents that help the disease to progress.
The funds from this grant will go towards isolating genetic codes found in rogue as well as healer cells.
Norlaily hopes understanding the triggers that command these cells to either heal or destroy will pave the way for future scientists to stop the further advancement of bone cancer.
The third recipient is Kalaivani Muniandy, 27, a postgraduate student from Institute of Research in Molecular Medicine. The award is in recognition of her work in growing a live tumour in her lab.
This model mimics the actual growth of a cancerous tumour within a human cervix.

Kalaivani’s work will allow scientists to observe the invasion pattern of the human papillomavirus in cervical cells without cutting someone open. It will also take much of the guesswork out of the diagnosing process.
Using a cell assembly system, Kalaivani said the grant will enable her to study the devastation caused by the virus. She also plans to test her model on different combinations of HPV strains.
The advantage of a live 3D model lies in the high level of oxygenated cells found in the tumour’s core. Oxygenated cells allow for easier checking when it comes to testing drug efficiency.
Kalaivani obtained her cell lines from American Type Culture Collection. She has infected them with HPV 16 and 18, both high-risk strains linked to the development of cervical cancer.
Dr Kong Sin Guan, an assistant professor from Utar, also received RM20,000 for his work on reducing the side effects in breast cancer treatment.

The recipients were selected from a pool of 27 applicants by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia.
The selection panel was headed by Universiti Putra Malaysia Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science Faculty dean Prof Datin Paduka Dr Khatijah Mohd Yussoff.
Since 2001, Makna has allocated RM1.3mil for cancer research and 42 researchers have benefited from the fund.

AirAsia to sell T-shirts to raise fund for cancer patients

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KUCHING: Kuching folk can grab #AirAsiaMAKNA special edition T-shirts at AirAsia Travel Fair in Kuching today and tomorrow from 10am to 10pm at CityOne MegaMall.

This corporate social responsibility programme launched by AirAsia aims to raise fund for the National Cancer Council of Malaysia (MAKNA) with their special edition T-shirts that feature the iconic AirAsia captain and cabin crew uniform and carry the MAKNA logo and tagline ‘A Meaning to Life’. The T-shirts sell for RM30 each.

Proceeds from the sale will go directly to MAKNA.

AirAsia is also running a photo contest for those who buy the T-shirts and stand a chance to win flights to selected AirAsia or AirAsia X destinations.

They just have to upload a creative photo of themselves wearing the T-shirts on Twitter or Instagram and hashtag #AirAsiaMAKNA.

Winners will be notified by AirAsia at the end of the campaign period.

For more information, visit

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Special edition AirAsia T-shirts to raise funds for cancer care

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The RM30 T-Shirt featuring the AirAsia captain and cabin crew uniform with the National Cancer Council of Malaysia (Makna) logo is part of AirAsia’s Corporate Social Responsibility, a statement from the airline said.
The funds raised from the campaign will go directly to Makna to provide care for cancer patients.
In conjunction with #AirAsiaMakna, AirAsia is also running a photo contest for those who have purchased the T-shirts.
Purchasers have a chance to win a pair of selected flights to AirAsia or AirAsia-X destinations by uploading the most creative photo of themselves in the T-shirts on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtage #AirAsiaMakna.
Winners will be notified by AirAsia at the end of the campaign period at the end of June. – Bernama

#AirAsiaMAKNA special edition T-shirts available exclusively at gateway@klia2 for a day!

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Grab your pilot or cabin crew designed t-shirts from 10am – 6pm only at gateway@klia2 on 11th June. All proceeds go directly to MAKNA to support and provide care for cancer patients.
SEPANG, 10 JUNE 2015 – AirAsia has launched a CSR campaign themed #AirAsiaMAKNA to raise funds for the National Cancer Council of Malaysia (MAKNA) with special edition t-shirts retailing at RM30 each; featuring the iconic AirAsia Captain and cabin crew uniform and carrying the MAKNA logo and its tagline ‘A Meaning to Life’ at the back of the t-shirts; sending a message of positivity as part of the campaign.
Due to overwhelming demand, the #AirAsiaMAKNA T-shirts will be available again at gateway@klia2 for only one day on Thursday, 11th June 2015 from 10am – 6pm at Level 2M.

AirAsia is also running a photo contest in conjunction with this campaign.
Everyone who purchased the exclusive t-shirts are eligible to win a pair of flights to selected AirAsia or AirAsia X destinations, just by uploading the most creative photo of themselves in the t-shirts on Twitter or Instagram and hashtag #AirAsiaMAKNA.
Winners will be notified by AirAsia at the end of the campaign period at the end of June.
The public can also visit for more information.

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 ( 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 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.

Travelling Beruang – Dari Telefilem Ke Kempen

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Aktor popular, Ungku Ismail Aziz tidak sangka tawaran untuk membintangi telefilem ‘Travelling Beruang’ terbitan Balang Rimbun Sdn Bhd menjadi satu titik permulaan penuh bermakna buat dirinya dalam melaksanakan sebuah kempen kesedaran kepada masyarakat tentang penyakit kanser di kalangan kanak-kanak.
Sebagai permulaan, pelakon drama popular ‘Teman Lelaki Upahan’ di slot Akasia ini mengambil inisiatif dengan berkongsi informasi menerusi laman Instagram miliknya (@ungkuismailaziz) serta meminta pengikut Instagram bergambar mengenakan topeng muka seperti yang sering digunakan pesakit kanser untuk tujuan kebersihan.
Ungku Ismail teruja bila inisiatifnya diterima ramai

Ternyata inisiatif murni jejaka berusia 30 tahun ini menarik perhatian pihak stesen televisyen TV3 yang kemudiannya menemubual pelakon itu menerusi program ‘Malaysia Hari Ini’ edisi 25 Mei. Hasilnya, ia berjaya menarik keprihatinan badan korporat Air Asia Berhad dan Altel dalam sama-sama merealisasikan hasratnya ini, sekaligus mewujudkan kempen yang menggunakan tajuk yang sama, Travelling Beruang.

“Secara jujur, saya tidak tahu bagaimana idea ini boleh timbul. Namun, apa yang pasti saya lebih teruja kerana tak sangka orang akan melayan idea saya. Saya ingin mengucapkan jutaan terima kasih kepada TV3, Air Asia, Altel dan Majlis Kanser Nasional (MAKNA) atas sokongan mereka,” ujar pencetus Travelling Beruang, Ungku Ismail ketika ditemui pada Selasa.

Namun, dia sendiri mengakui tidak tahu bagaimana timbulnya idea tersebut

“Saya harap dengan kempen ini, orang akan lebih memahami apa itu kanser sejak dari awal. Kalau boleh saya juga tak nak letakkan diri saya sebagai artis dalam melakukan perkara ini. Saya mahu meletakkan diri saya sebagai manusia, sebagai seorang adik, abang atau apa saja kerana saya mahu melaksanakan perkara ini dengan bersungguh-sungguh,” katanya penuh semangat.

Bagi Pengurus Besar Kumpulan Pengurusan Jenama dan Rancangan TV3 & TV9, Sherina Nordin, ini merupakan inisiatif besar pihak mereka pada tahun 2015 dalam melaksanakan kempen berkenaan dan berharap ia dapat memberi sesuatu yang positif kepada masyarakat di luar sana.
Ungku Ismail harap kempen ini dapat membantu masyarakat lebih memahami apa itu kanser

“Kami tersentuh apabila Ungku Ismail Aziz yang pada mulanya diberikan watak dalam telefilem TV3 berjudul ‘Travelling Beruang’ membuka hatinya dalam memulakan inisiatif ini. Niat ikhlasnya membuatkan kami terpanggil untuk memainkan peranan kami sebagai sebuah syarikat media dan hasil perbincangan bersama, kami mahu membawa kempen ini kepada skala yang besar. Alhamdulillah, Air Asia dan Altel juga turut berminat menjayakan kempen ini dan kami ingin merakamkan ucapan terima kasih kepada semua yang terlibat,” ujar Sherina.

Menyentuh mengenai telefilem ‘Travelling Beruang’, Ungku Ismail memberitahu dia memegang watak utama untuk telefilem arahan Syahid Johan dan Jay ini. ‘Travelling Beruang’ mengisahkan tentang seorang novelis yang kehilangan anak akibat kanser. Sejak itu perangainya terus berubah dan tidak lagi kisah mengenai diri mahupun kehidupan, sehingga isterinya juga bertindak mahu meninggalkannya.
Di dalam telefilem ‘Travelling Beruang’, Ungku Ismail membawa watak seorang ayah yang kehilangan anaknya akibat kanser

Novelis tersebut kemudian berjumpa dengan kawannya bagi menceritakan tentang masalah yang dihadapi. Kawannya itu juga mempunyai seorang anak yang menghidap kanser di mana dia turut mempunyai cita-cita untuk mengembara. Dari situ, novelis tersebut mengambil patung beruang milik anak kawannya itu untuk merealisasikan impian kanak-kanak tersebut dan juga impian arwah anaknya.

“Telefilem ini masih belum menjalani penggambaran lagi dan sebab itulah saya mempunyai masa yang agak panjang untuk membuat rujukan. Kami akan memulakan penggambaran pada 21 Jun di mana selain shoot telefilem, kami juga akan membuat kapsul untuk kempen ini,” kongsi Ungku Ismail kepada Tonton Extra.

Elalui kempen Travelling Beruang, Ungku Ismail akan mengembara ke tujuh negara
Menerusi kempen yang akan berlangsung bermula Jun itu, Ungku Ismail akan mengembara ke tujuh buah destinasi bersama patung beruang yang pernah dihadiahkan kepada adik Nur Hasmime Abdul Hamid (Mime) yang menghidap kanser darah. Patung beruang itu dijangka akan dibawa ke lokasi seperti Perth (Australia), Lombok (Indonesia), Siam Reap (Kemboja), Chongqing (China) dan Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam).

“Kami akan pergi ke Lombok dan dua destinasi lain terlebih dahulu sebelum bercuti dua minggu untuk menyambut Aidilfitri. Kemudian kami akan sambung ke tiga lagi destinasi lain dan InsyaAllah, ia dijangka ditayangkan pada Oktober. Saya juga merancang untuk pergi ke setiap hospital bagi melawat pesakit kanser kanak-kanak di sana. Selain itu, saya akan cuba minta dengan kanak-kanak yang saya jumpa di tepi jalan untuk mereka ambil gambar dengan patung beruang ini,” tuturnya.

Di setiap destinasinya, Ungku Ismail merancang mahu melawat pesakit kanser kanak-kanak
Sementara itu, Air Asia serta rakan kerja di Tune Insurance yang menjadi penaja utama projek Travelling Beruang ini akan menjual replika patung Travelling Beruang berharga RM59.90 di dalam pesawat mereka. Hasil kutipan dana akan disalurkan ke tabung Travelling Beruang MAKNA untuk membantu kanak-kanak yang menghidapi kanser. Sumbangan juga boleh dilakukan menerusi akaun Maybank, Tabung Travelling Beruang MAKNA di 5140 7561 6705. Perjalanan penuh inspirasi ini akan dikemaskini di laman rasmi Travelling Beruang, serta kapsul ringkas menerusi TV3.

Rahsia TRAVELLING BERUANG Bawa Ungku Ismail Aziz Melancong

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Dari sebuah telemovie ke sebuah kempen besar dan bermakna… itulah permulaan kepada kempen Travelling Beruang anjuran TV3. Pelakon yang terkenal menerusi drama bersiri Akasia: Teman Lelaki Upahan, Ungku Ismail Aziz yang pada mulanya ditawarkan memegang watak seorang ayah yang ingin menunaikan seorang impian kanak-kanak kanser dalam sebuah telefilem TV3. Namun kini ianya bukan sekadar telefilem tetapi bakal mengukir siri perjalanan penuh inspirasi.

Pertemuannya dengan adik Nur Hasmime Abdul Hamid (Mime) setelah menonton salah satu episod menerusi rancangan Bersamamu di portal Tonton ternyata membuka hati pelakon itu untuk membuat sesuatu yang lebih bermakna. Lantas Kempen Travelling Beruang diwujudkan sempena telemovie tersebut bertujuan untuk memberi kesedaran kepada masyarakat mengenai kanser di kalangan kanak-kanak.

Ungku Ismail Aziz memulakan inisiatifnya secara kecil-kecilan dengan berkongsi informasi menerusi instagram (@ungkuismailaziz) serta meminta pengikut instagram bergambar mengenakan topeng muka yang sering dipakai pesakit kanser untuk tujuan kebersihan.
TV3 yang tertarik dengan inisiatif Ungku Ismail Aziz itu telah menemubual pelakon itu menerusi Malaysia Hari Ini (MHI) edisi 25 Mei yang lalu dan berjaya menarik keprihatinan badan korporat dalam merealisasikan kempen ini.

“Kami tersentuh apabila Ungku Ismail Aziz yang pada mulanya diberikan watak dalam telefilem TV3 berjudul Travelling Beruang membuka hatinya dalam memulakan inisiatif ini. Niat ikhlas Ungku membuatkan kami terpanggil untuk memainkan peranan kami sebagai sebuah syarikat media. Kami telah mengadakan perbincangan untuk membawa kempen ini kepada skala yang besar. Alhamdulillah Air Asia dan Altel turut berminat mejayakan kempen ini, kata Pengurus Besar Kumpulan Pengurusan Jenama dan Rancangan TV3 & TV9, Cik Sherina Nordin.
Menyedari niat murni kempen ini serta bersedia dengan tanggungjawab sosial korporatnya, AirAsia tampil selaku penaja utama manakala Altel sebagai penaja bersama. Kempen Travelling Beruang bertujuan memberi kesedaran mengenai kanser di kalangan kanak-kanak dan secara tidak langsung mengutip dana untuk pesakit seperti adik Mime serta ramai lagi kanak-kanak yang yang menghidapi penyakit kanser di Malaysia. Ini adalah kerana kos perubatan yang besar adalah di antara halangan buat keluarga terlibat untuk mendapatkan kos pembedahan atau perubatan buat anak-anak mereka.

Encik Spencer Lee, Ketua Komersil AirAsia berkata

“Kami di AirAsia serta rakan kerja di Tune Insurance amat berbesar hati menjadi sebahagian penaja utama projek Travelling Beruang. Adalah besar harapan kami untuk melihat kempen ini berjaya dan seterusnya membantu kanak-kanak yang menghidapi kanser. Kami juga tidak sabar untuk menerbangkan Ungku Ismail Aziz dan krew produksi ke 7 buah destinasi dalam rangkaian kami.”

“AirAsia juga akan menjual replika patung Travelling Beruang di dalam pesawat, dimana hasil kutipan dana akan disalurkan ke tabung Traveling Beruang untuk membantu kanak-kanak yang menghidapi kanser,” tambah beliau.

Menerusi kempen yang akan berlangsung bermula Jun 2015 itu, Ungku Ismail akan mengembara ke tujuh buah destinasi bersama patung beruang yang pernah dihadiahkan kepada adik Mime. Memahami keadaan adik Mime, patung beruang itu bakal menjadikan simbol harapan bukan sahaja kepada dirinya malah kanak-kanak lain yang mengalami nasib sama. Patung Travelling Beruang itu dijangka akan di bawa ke 7 buah destinasi seperti Perth (Australia), Lombok (Indonesia), Siam Reap (Kemboja), Chongqing (China), Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) dan beberapa lagi lokasi.
Perjalanan penuh inspirasi itu akan dikemaskini di laman rasmi Travelling Beruang serta kapsul ringkas menerusi TV3. Kempen yang akan berlangsung sepanjang tahun itu juga mengharapkan sumbangan ikhlas rakyat Malaysia malah dunia menerusi sebuah tabung khas. Tabung yang dinamakan Travelling Beruang MAKNA akan mengutip dana buat keperluan kanak-kanak penghidap kanser di Malaysia yang memerlukan menerusi kerjasama Majlis Kanser Nasional (MAKNA).
Sumbangan boleh dibuat menerusi akaun Tabung Travelling Beruang MAKNA di 5140 7561 6705 (Maybank). Maklumat lanjut boleh didapati di laman website