I gave a talk at the eighth cycle of Hear Us Out – Global Issues Conference at Taylors University College last Saturday. It was my sixth time participating in this conference since 2009. Guess how much I received from the organizer for speaking this time? RM1,250.00 – the most I have ever received for speaking alone.

That’s not counting the RM160.00 raised from selling a few books and t-shirts afterwards.

Mr. Colin B. Shafer who has been guiding his Canadian Pre-U’s World Issues classes in organizing this conference, is returning to Canada at the end of the current semester, which means HUO8 is his last.

I’ve been giving talks to raise funds for my medical treatments since the very beginning of my Heart4Hope campaign in 2005. Different people have encouraged me to become a motivational speaker along the way. But it was Colin Shafer and his Hear Us Out conference that unwittingly provided me that ultimate nudge to pursue this path seriously. At Hear Us Out, I experimented with different angles of my story and how each can impact the audience. I also learned how much my work could mean to the people who attend – particularly the youths as they are about the same age as I, and because they are at an important junction of their lives.

Just six people signed up for my session this time likely because my talk was only announced one week prior to the event. But no matter. I would still do my best even if only one person came. Because that person matters.

At the previous conference before this one, the student charged to keep time was so engrossed with my talk that she forgot the time and I over-spoke by 20 minutes, so I made it a point to not joke unnecessarily to avoid rambling this time around. I only had 40 minutes, and my story could be pretty exhaustive as there were many angles to explore. 😉

My talk this time was designed to be concise. I only talked about the key points that would clearly show how a person could achieve her dreams by “turning her challenges Into Stepping Stones“. I showed how my tough childhood environment provided me the psychological tools to survive NF in later life and do what I am doing today. Later on, my struggle to survive inspite of NF provided me the knowledge and trainings necessary to pursue my ultimate childhood dream.

The lessons I hoped to impart during last Saturday’s talk was ‘humility’, ‘no job is beneath you’, and ‘appreciation for all of life’s experiences’.

A few students met up with me and my companions after the session to enquire more about my health condition and my past, so Jiande and Justin Yong who were there to assist me gladly attended to them.

A big thank you to everyone who played a part in making this session successful, including Yee Fan who purposely came to snap photographs of us.

You may also invite me to speak at other events by sending me an e-mail to yvonnefmn(at)gmail(dot)com,

Photo Credit:
Yee Fan

Categories: Work & Studies

Yvonne Foong

As a child, Yvonne Foong dreamed of growing up to help others. To achieve her ambition, she began studying to become a psychologist. But things changed when tumours were discovered in her body at the age of sixteen. She was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 2 -- a genetic illness with no cure. Fighting for survival, Yvonne turned to fundraising and embarked on a medical odyssey to the United States. Her experiences since then have transformed her into a motivational speaker; inspiring hope, faith and strength. Yvonne is currently working to establish a humanitarian foundation that provides NF patients in Malaysia with financial and logistical support. Visit Works of Gratitude to learn more.


Syahidah · May 21, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Yvonne, keep up the good work babe! Like it! Wow! It was amazing rite, that the sum collected this time so huge!

Yvonne Foong · May 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Syahidah: Thanks for always attending my talks at Hear Us Out. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised to be informed that the organizer decided to channel this much to my cause.

Luuana · December 2, 2015 at 11:57 pm

I am confused bteeewn standard gibbs free energy change and gibbs free energy change. Aren’t both the change in gibbs free energy of the system when reactants are converted completely, or 100 %, to products? Why does the change in gibbs free energy of the reaction change as the reactioin progresses, but the standard gibbs free energy change is the same no matter what. I need a qualitative explanation more than a quantitative one. Thanks!

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