Edmund Cheong Heng Yew wins competition by sharing his mother’s story of epilepsy

“Malaysia Day” falls on the 16th of September. Each year, many events are organised to celebrate this patriotic and joyous day. This year, International supermarket chain Tesco, organised a story sharing contest with six prizes of shopping vouchers worth RM5,000.00 for each of the selected winners.

Contestants were required to write about the people they look up to and why they regard them as their heroes. Edmund Cheong Heng Yew wrote about his mother, Serene Low, and shared her epilepsy story.

“Both of us were immensely overjoyed and taken by great surprise as we didn’t think our entry would stand a chance to win at all since competition was very stiff with lots of other entries submitted”, said Serene.

Serene is a former recipient of the IBE’s Outstanding Person with Epilepsy Award, presented at the 10th Asian and Oceanian Epilepsy Congress in 2014, for her ongoing advocacy work

Serene wrote to Ann Little, Executive Director of IBE with gracious thanks for the part the organization has played in promoting Serene’s story:

“Thanks so much, Ann, for giving my Malaysian epilepsy story a chance to appear in the International Epilepsy Day website as well as in the European Parliament. I am forever grateful and thankful for the special opportunities that you had given to me.”

In further good news a local radio station wanted to meet Serene and Edmund in person to hear more about their story. Radio One FM 88.1 invited them to the station to be interviewed and aired the story earlier this week.

You can read Edmund’s story below, or click here to read the original.


My mum is my hero. She has epilepsy and has lived with it for 47 years. Her seizures are without warnings which means she can lose consciousness and fall down anytime. There were three seizures that could have ended her life. One seizure happened at a seaside knee length water. She was rescued at the nick of time from drowning to death. Another seizure happened when she was crossing a busy street. She fell face down onto the side of the road and sustained severe injuries on her face. The third seizure happened when she was standing on the first step of a descending escalator. My dad managed to grab her in time and pulled her back to the top landing of the escalator.

My mum has defied many more odds associated with epilepsy. Despite it all, she makes sure her life is not lived in vain. She has never allowed epilepsy to limit her in her philosophy about life- “Nobody asked to suffer. They deserve to be helped”. In her first self funded fundraising project in year 1995, RM260,000 was raised for an old folks home. She continued to initiate more self funded fundraising projects for other charity causes till today. Altogether, she has been advocating about epilepsy for 20 over years. In recognition, the International Bureau of Epilepsy gave my mum an Outstanding Award for Person With Epilepsy, the first ever given to a Malaysian. They also exhibited her epilepsy story in the European Parliament in 2015, which was the only Malaysian story. My mum is an inspiration to my family and my beloved country, Malaysia.