Read our interview with this family here.
Standing out among the thousands of participants at The Straits Times Run in the City yesterday were a pair of “piggyback sisters” Melody and Merrily Tan.
In one of the most heartwarming scenes that came out of the event, 10-year-old Melody gave a piggyback ride to five-year-old Merrily. Both of them looked as happy as their names suggest.
When asked if she likes carrying her sister, the frank Primary 4 pupil of Tao Nan School said: “No. But she said she was tired and then she asked if we could carry her.”
Carrying Merrily, who weighs 17kg, has become a responsibility that Melody and her mother Joycelyn Pang frequently shoulder out of love. Merrily is weakened by a rare incurable condition called Henoch-Schonlein purpura, an inflammation of the blood vessels.
Ms Pang, a single mother, said: “She’s sick every month… She’s got weak lungs and so she cannot exert herself too much.”
Despite Merrily’s condition, Ms Pang still takes her daughters out to participate in running events together. Thirty minutes into the 5km fun run yesterday, Melody had to carry Merrily. The family completed the route in 55 minutes.
Before yesterday’s ST Run, their first, they had been to seven events, including the Pokemon Run in January and the Cold Storage Kids Run in May. Ms Pang intends to sign them up for 15 more events this year. The sales executive, 41, said: “I want them to share a common interest. In future, I hope they will continue to go for runs together, and when I am older, they will take me along for runs too.
“They look forward to it, especially getting the medal at the end.”
A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times.
(Photo: The Straits Times)