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Overcoming Adversities and Finding Renewed Strength

Stories 28 Sep 2022

Our lives are just like ebbs and flows. In periods of flow, we can think of life as easy, and full of meaning. But when our lives ebbs, we may be struggling against the current while trying to get a grasp on what is important to us. However, it is important to remind ourselves to never give up. This is the story of Humphries Warren Sheldon, who despite the odds stacked against him, did not give up and instead found renewed strength to embark on a journey of learning and discovery.


It all began in 2016 when Sheldon, who was then a funeral director, discovered himself often falling and needing to endure an unstable gait. It was only in 2020 that he was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, a rare hereditary motor and sensory disorder that is characterised by progressive loss of muscle and touch sensation across various parts of the body. The condition meant Sheldon losing his grip and falling down multiple times. “I had to endure physical pain perpetually, and I lost a lot of strength and get tired easily because of the disease,” said Sheldon.


To make matters worse, when Sheldon was struck with CMT, he suffered setback on his second marriage, while having to handle mounting debt and loss of job arising from his physical condition. He was on the verge of giving in until he remembered his daughter from his first marriage. Whenever I think of my daughter, I would recall the good times we spent with each other as a father-daughter duo and witnessing her growing up. Because of that, I found strength in living my life to the fullest,” he elaborated.


Determined to overcome this lowest point in his life, he signed up for numerous training courses, including NTUC LearningHub’s Community and Partnerships Specialist course. Explaining his choice, Sheldon said, “My physical situation has given me a newfound interest in areas of inclusivity and stakeholder engagement, and the Community and Partnerships Specialist course is well-positioned to allow me acquire skills to be competent in this area.”


Throughout the course, Sheldon was able to acquire in-demand skills such as market research and data analytics, branding and digital marketing as well as communication and engagement. This allowed him to take on short-term roles where he could apply the skills he learnt. In his quest to continuously upskill, he took up NTUC LHUB’s peer-to-peer mental well-being support programme, where he further developed keen interest in the topic of inclusivity. Eventually, he assumed the role as the Singapore lead of a United States-based CMT advocacy and awareness group, and is now volunteering his time with SG Enable.


“I no longer blame others for what I am facing. Instead, I started to think that I should shoulder responsibility for things that are happening to me, and to use whatever I have learnt to good use by helping others.” Sheldon said.

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