Contributed by Lee Sook Huey, Lim Ern Ming, and Mary Suma Cardosa
To encourage patients to live a meaningful and active life despite pain, pain clinics in Malaysia have been organizing the pain clinic family day annually for the past 8 years. This event, which is supported by the Malaysian Association for the Study of Pain (MASP), gathers chronic pain patients, their families, and pain clinic staffs from all over Malaysia to connect socially and pace fun activities together.
This year, the family day was organized at Hospital Kuala Lumpur on the fifth of September and attracted more than 180 participants from different states. A group of patients from the Ipoh hospital Pain clinic and another group from Melaka travelled for more than two hours by bus to get to KL. From the very start, lively conversations filled the hall as participants engaged in conversations to get to know each other. A few participants then volunteered to lead the group in stretching exercises before the official opening of the event, done by Dr. Mary Suma Cardosa, the President of MASP, who welcomed participants and explained some of the reasons for organising this annual gathering.
Participants from each hospital took turn to present entertaining performances, in an atmosphere suffused with supportiveness and cheer. A few patients enthusiastically shared their personal stories of living with pain and related how they had overcome the suffering that they had experienced before, expressing their gratitude towards the education, support and guidance received from the pain clinic staffs. One of the chronic pain patients demonstrated his determination and resilience by dancing energetically on stage, after which he recounted his transformation from someone who relied on crutches for years to become what he was now - a physical trainer.
Everyone received a door gift and as usual, there was lots of food to enjoy. Those who participated in team and individual games were rewarded with a variety of prizes, and there were also lucky draw prizes to be won. Children of patients were not left out, with games and a colouring contest specially organised for them. Those who attended left the event with a sense of optimism and gratitude.