"Life is like Burpees - everytime you get knocked down, you get back up again!"
My name is Aida Munirah Azmi. I’m 33 years old, living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I am a mother of four and a cancer warrior. I was first diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, a rare form of salivary gland cancer back in 2010 when I was only 24 years old.
After undergoing two major back-to-back neck surgery to achieve clean margin, six chemotherapy session and 33 radiotherapy session, I managed to defied the odds and had survived almost 10 years since then.
I wish I could say that the cancer journey was easy. Truth is, fighting against cancer has probably been one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life! During the diagnosis period, I went through various cycles of being in denial, rebellion and self-pity before eventually being able to accept that I have cancer. The first two weeks of therapy was a breeze for me, but little that I know that that was just the tip of the iceberg. My suffering started as I entered my 3rd cycle of chemotherapy. The side effects of chemotherapy coupled with the daily radiotherapy to the mouth and neck area was really taking a toll on my health.
I was so weak and fragile. My mouth and throat became increasingly sore and I’d developed mouth, tongue and throat ulcers as I go through the treatment. The ulcers eventually disfigured my tongue and affected my taste buds, I lose my sense of taste, swallowing (even my own saliva) becomes painful. Then radiotherapy damages the nerve around my mouth, making it very difficult to communicate. I had to write whatever I wanted to say, which is really frustrating.
Eventually, I had a lot of pent up anger, from not being able to eat, to sleep, to talk, to do anything for that matter. Dealing with surgery, chemo, radiation, hair loss, fatigue, family, friends, and just myself in general made me pretty angry. Then depression slowly starts to replace the anger. Sometimes I just feel empty, wondering, perhaps, if there is any point in going on? Why go on at all? I lost the will to live because the pain was unbearable. I was really hitting rock bottom. I was feeling miserable from all the side effects and at one point, I wish God will take my life so that all the pain will go away.
I’ve shed so many tears at times when I wasn’t physically able to cope with it. But in all honesty, I have to say the joy I’ve been given by God today has far exceeded the pain that I’d endured. My family and Azmir (my then-boyfriend, now my husband) was my rock! They never gave up on me. And I could not get over the number of people who were there for me and my family. It was emotionally comforting because I felt like I had so many people rooting for me. I was devastated when I first learned that I had cancer, but in the end the decision to share the news with friends, family and acquaintances proved to be a vital source of support and encouragement during my cancer journey.
Post cancer battle, I got married to Azmir in September 2011, a year after I was diagnosed with cancer and was blessed with our healthy 7 years old son – Aariq, 5 years old daughter – Aayra, 3 years old son – Aamil and 10 months’ young baby – Aatif; the sole reason why I continued to persevere even until today. I also adopted a healthier lifestyle post-cancer. An avid runner, I am also a marathoner and ultra-marathoner where I completed the 55km TMBT (The Most Beautiful Thing) dubbed to be one of the toughest ultra-trail marathon in the region.
FAST FORWARD TO TODAY….
Unfortunately, after almost 10 years in remission, a recent annual checkup revealed that there were masses in my left lungs. On 10 February 2020, a biopsy confirmed my cancer relapse, the worst nightmare for any cancer survivors. I was devastated to learn about the prognosis, that even after almost 10 years, there were very little advancement and research done to cure Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. I cannot help but to feel helpless. But this time, I’m facing cancer with a mission! 10 years ago, I faced cancer for the first time, feeling afraid and unsure of how the disease would affect me as a person. Today, I have a greater zest for life from all the love and support I have received. I am determined to put up a good fight, and ultimately end this battle with a victorious smile!
Hence why I started doing 100 burpees a day for the whole month of February to raise awareness for rare cancers, in conjunction with Rare Disease Day on 29 February 2020. For those who don’t know what a burpee is, it is essentially lying on the floor then jumping back up again very quickly. Why burpees? I just realized that burpees are a metaphor for life – when you get down, you get right back up; over and over again. It’s a tough exercise but you will always feel better afterwards. Why 100? It needs to be an eye-catching, impactful number yet is something achievable.
If burpees aren’t your thing, don’t worry, you can still show your support anyway by donating to the cause, by sponsoring a friend to completing the burpees, by sharing this page and my story, or by simply coming online and showing your support on the day.
Ultimately, it’s not about the burpees per se. This is not a race, but an act of solidarity and a display of support by the community to those cancer warriors like myself, who is personally impacted by rare cancers. With your help and support, I can win this fight! Your support and generosity will mean that there will be more awareness in the fight against Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma and hopefully a cure, if not for me, for those out there whose hope seems despair.
What is #Burpees4Aida?
#Burpees4Aida is a campaign initiated by Aida Munirah, a rare cancer warrior currently battling a cancer relapse to raise awareness on rare cancer as well as to raise funds for cancer research. The soft launch started in February 2020 in conjunction with Rare Disease Day on 29 February 2020 and the event will take place this Sunday, 7th June 2020 in conjunction with National Cancer Survivors Day.
Aida herself will lead the 100 Burpees as we aim to gather at least 100 participants to Burpees together during the event! If you are new to Burpees, fret not, Aida will guide you through your FIRST 100 BURPEES EVER!!
And Be Part of This Honourable Cause!
NOTE: All entitlements will be post to the registered address by latest 4 weeks after the end of event.
Date: 7 June 2020
Time : 9am – 10am
Location : Virtually Online
ALL PROFITS RAISED WILL BE CHANNELED TO CANCER RESEARCH MALAYSIA
"Life is like BURPEES - Every time you get knocked down, you get back up again"