After my recent surgery in the U.S., on the very day my lungs were confirmed clear of infection and thus, I could be discharged, I received an e-mail invitation to give a talk at the Multimedia University in Malacca two months in advance.

A close up shot of Yvonne speaking with an assistant seated by her side

Hence, last Saturday on 9th July 2013, I made an overnight trip to the state of Malacca to give a 1.5 hour talk before 140 students at the annual World Vision Famine Camp organized by the Love Life Club. This was my second time being invited as speaker of this event. The first was three years ago in 2010.

Another view of Yvonne speaking while seated on a chair as campers listened intently around her

The title of my talk at MMU this time was Be The Change. I encouraged students to believe in their childhood ambitions, to do well in everything they do in order to make a difference, to know that you can make a difference where you are. The general idea is that you can be ordinary yet extraordinary. In all of history, people who have done great things that impacted the world most did not intend to make history. They simply did what they could with focus and dedication, to the best of their ability.

And I used my own life story as an example. What I did was so ordinary. Just selling t-shirts. But this simple campaign has touched thousands of people worldwide.

Yvonne seated on a chair speaking through a microphone as campers grouped themselves around her

My early life struggles were also mentioned during the Question & Answer session, plus the reasons why I must raise funds to obtain medical treatments in America. Giving up was not an option to me. It’s either America or my parents will be devastated. I suppose this aspect of the story had touched the students most, because some guys in the front row were moved to tears.

A camper bends and shakes Yvonne's hands

The result of this talk surpassed my expectations. It turned out much better than the last time I was here. I guess I must have improved a lot as a person and as a motivational speaker. In 2010, I had only started to call myself as motivational speaker despite having done it for a few years prior. Now in 2013, I am confidently a motivational speaker. It’s what I do. It’s my job and my role. My gift to humanity. My calling.

A group photo with the entire camp of 140 members wearing yellow and purple t-shirts

I received rounds of applause, a standing salutation, some even stopped me on my way out for my autograph and a photo together.

I will miss you guys at MMU and I hope to see you again in the future. Next time, I shall come as Director of A Celebration of Life foundation.


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.

25 Comments

shanthini krishna kumar · July 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Miss. Yvonne, i’m so in touched with your life story. i really cant believe, you have went trough a lot of difficulties in your life. the most impressive word that i heard from you is ” DON’T GIVE UP” salute you Miss Yvonne. Do keep in touch and my prayers will keep you happy forever. love and hugs <3

Shanthini (shan)
i'm the only one Indian girl who participate in this event and i never regret of joining this event because i got an opportunity to meet you and listen to your story…

Yvonne Foong · July 18, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Dear Shan,

I remember you. We met outside the hall after the talk on Saturday. Thank you for the prayers of happiness.

Is it because I appear small in size so it’s hard to believe I’ve endured a lot? =)

Lee Yau Sin · July 19, 2013 at 7:06 am

Bravo! You have gone leaps and bounds to be such an extraordinary, engaging and exemplary Motivational Speaker.
I llook up to you as my role model as a Confident, Convincing & Committed Speaker. Am preparing my Toastmasters Adv Speech Speaking in Praise on 31st July. I will be role playing with you as the person of praise at your 26th birthday.
May I write to you for advice?
Warm regards,
Aunty YS

Yvonne Foong · July 19, 2013 at 9:56 am

Aunty YS,

I am 27 already.:)

You Want to role play as a deaf person? Haha. But this deaf speaker can talk well. I am interested to see how you will convince the audience that you are deaf.

Sure, write to me anytime!

Lin Rongxiang · August 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Hello Yvonne,

Ran out of beautiful Japanese AV starlets to admire over google, out of seemingly anywhere saw your lovely book lying on the desk, opening the first page says “To the people who will come to read this book, May this story of mine make a difference in your life (signed) 22-09-09 Yvonne Foong”. Went ahead and found the book at openlibrary.org so thought of updating the book profile with its cover design, contents page, etc.

Got a few other books to read, ironically being a Buddhist my copies of Diamond Sutra, Surangama Sutra, and Vimalakirti have always been within the stack of books on the desk.

My mother’s still wearing the black t-shirt from the Heart4Hope shirtstore. Thought I’ll let you know.

<3 with love. a little. enough to go around. with love.

don't know what else to do. won't understand what extra to suggest. a lot of stuffs that sound good, feel good, and seem good as we grow up in this strange life. Sometimes when I ask myself whose the enemy, for all I cared I ask myself is anybody else on this planet the enemy, I ended up fighting with oneself so much turns out the fighting itself itself is the enemy (skarly the self is).

Keep in touch
rongxiang

Yvonne Foong · August 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Hello rongxiang

Thank you for remembering me. Well, we become our own enemy when we refuse to face ourselves and our issues but perpetuate them instead

Lin Rongxiang · December 7, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Thanks Yvonne, I just keep telling myself how I ought to keep my enemies closest by my side, and amusingly my ego that is this self, this myself, I keep it around with me all the time. Instead of becoming our own enemy, I choose myself as my own worst enemy. You notice how I visit your website only once in a blue moon, goes to show how much of a friend you are to me on most days when I don’t recall you at all; where I am located in Singapore we had a politician whose name I forgot, he commented that of all countries in the world Singapore has got the best foreign relations with Sierra Leone, and amusing the rationale Sierra Leone has got the best ties with Singapore is because we’ve got no ties at all between the two nations. No relation is the best relation.

Ttyl..

Yvonne Foong · December 24, 2013 at 10:43 pm

RongXiang, you sound hurt.

Alan h.b neo · January 24, 2014 at 11:23 pm

You are really my inspiration n motivated from what you have gone through Iife at a very young age same like nick vicjovic a living example that life is more worth than daily routine keep on going bcos god is with you. Amen he is always good all the time.

Yvonne Foong · January 31, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Alan, amen to that. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

creating home page · September 23, 2014 at 2:28 am

It is very difficult to know what the women really want, but men can try to learn more about women. No relationship can stand
strong on the base of lies. All children – and therefore all adults – are more basically
compliant or rebellious. Keep you ego in check,
AND accomplish what you set out to do because it’s what makes sense for you.
He is an honest, straightforward guy with a positive attitude and a wonderful
warm smile.

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Francoise · October 16, 2015 at 12:58 am

Love the colours on your card Yvonne and the bee hive looks loevly against the paper. Great sentiment too.Thanks for joining in with Make My Monday birds or bugs challenge and wishing you good luck.Fliss x

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