I Got Cancer Three Times, But Still Managed to Graduate.

Published by Afterschool.my on Dec 11, 2022, 09:56 pm

They say you’re stronger than you think you are, and Imran Mat Shah's story is the prime example of that.

The 26-year old Political Science student is put through an unimaginable situation, when he did not get just one, but three different types of cancer from year 2015 to 2020.

Stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma, Stage 3 Liver, Stage 3 Colon cancer. Medical bills, chemo, regiments— all of that. I have to find ways to make money on my own through working part-time jobs. I try to put aside my illness, and worked hard to stay healthy and alive.”

Imran has a positive outlook on life as he continues to pursue his studies in spite of having cancer. His routine follows with attending evening classes, then going to work during nighttime, which extends till the flushes of the morning. On Weekends, he goes for Pasukan Latihan Pegawai Simpanan (PALAPES) training, to challenge himself through heavy drilling.

Joining PALAPES trained me to become stronger, since being in the Army pushes one beyond their limits.

As hardworking as he is, the amount of income he makes from his part-time job just isn’t enough to cover his expenses as a student. Thanks to IIUM Endowment Fund and crowdfunds through gracious Twiterrians, he’s able to get by financially throughout his academic journey. 

From 2019 to 2020, Imran had to take 2 study leaves due to the effects of Chemotherapy that hindered his physical capabilities to study normally. A treacherous two years down the road, with the effects of chemotherapy slowly engulfing his overall well-being. When Imran had colon cancer during his senior year, he was covered in blood but continued to advance with spike boots and a backpack weighing 14km during PALAPES training. After the training ended, he resumed Chemotherapy sessions until he lost all his hair.

Chemotherapy affects him not only appearance-wise; but also his mind. “I had to do Chemotherapy many times, to the point that it affects my memory function. I can’t remember a lot of things. And because of the side effects, I decided to take study leave and accept the fact that I can’t graduate with my batchmates, which demotivates me a little bit to finish my studies. It’s been tough, but luckily I’m blessed with a supportive circle that cheered me up and showers me with so much care until my pain dissipates. It encourages me to keep moving forward.

Helping the marginalized community through HiCROPS

Having gone through a life-threatening illness, Imran is inspired to create winds of change and improve the quality of people’s life. With his passion for crop planting, he establishes HiCROPS, a hydroponic agriculture business that is created to help generate income for marginalized communities. The HiCROPS team managed to get a sponsor to fund the programme, which opened doors for them to expand their business to institutions, aiming to increase food security awareness among students. “Crop planting teaches us perseverance and patience as we wait for the crops to grow healthily; it’s also a form of therapy for my mental health.

Life’s toughest moments teach you humility like no other

Imran’s story opened up his eyes deeper into the grand scheme of all things. He started to do volunteer work by feeding the homeless, then moved to organize activities with kids at orphanages. “All of these things taught me how to always be grateful for God's (Allah’s) fate. We might feel that we’ve faced the worst situation but by volunteering ourselves for society, it will change our perspective towards our life.

Imran’s Doctor used to tell him that he only had 6 months to live when he had his 2nd cancer, but he fought through it. His faith kept him going, as he prayed to devote his life to society to serve the community. 

That is why my convocation isn’t just a degree convocation to me, but it’s a celebration of my life, of how I forged to become the person I am today.” 

On how he can build his resilience, Imran says "Being a strong person, is a skill that needs to be trained. You can stay sad but don’t dwell on it for too long. Put a week into sadness but then try to rise slowly from that slump and prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you think you are."

If you're looking for a University to start your academic journey like Imran, just give a nudge to our counselors and we can help you find the best course that fits your profile. 

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