I was chatting online with a dear friend of mine a couple of hours ago, catching up with each other and finding out how she’s been doing (she’s been off the radar for almost a year) and after talking to her I decided to dedicate this post as a tribute to her.

Tia is the youngest child of two siblings, born in a wealthy and influential family.  Since the day she was born she was exposed to a life of luxury; she attended the best private schools, she was rubbing shoulders with the elite society, had her own personal maids to tend to her every need, in short, she was living like royalty.  One would think that having everything that money can buy would make her an irresponsible, spoilt brat who doesn’t give a damn about anyone but herself but she is nothing like that.   

She has money as well as good looks and she was spotted by a talent scout when she was 15 which eventually had launched her modelling career.  She started getting lots of jobs doing commercials and that’s when she started having problems in school – instead of becoming more likeable, kids in school resented her.  She was often picked on in school by bullies (some of them got quite violent) and that was when she started to think that there was something wrong with her.  She started detaching herself from the other kids in school and also from her family.  She grew up feeling very lonely.  Things got really bad at a point that instead of talking things over with her family she decided to take matters into her own hands by cutting herself.  She felt that if she was scarred then maybe the other kids would accept her and she won’t be alone anymore.  This problem of hers went on for a few years and it only ended when she finally reached out to her family and admitting to them that she needed help.  A lot of work was done on her, a lot of money was spent to heal her and eventually it all paid off.  When she turned 18, she started modelling internationally.  Her job took her all over the world and she was basically living out of a suitcase most of the time. 

Although life as a model is interesting and exciting she still found something was missing in her life – love.  Sure, she did her share of dating over the years but because she’s never at one place long enough all she had were casual dates and not someone whom she can call her boyfriend.  Desperate, two years ago she signed up to a social network and there she met someone whom she thought she could start a relationship with.   

Her relationship with that guy went on well at first; he was very attentive, caring, loving, and he seemed to be very understanding as well.  They carried on with this relationship for about a year via the social network without having spoken to each other on the phone or meeting face to face (he was in Malaysia while she was all over the world) though they did have plans to meet someday.

She was in the midst of doing another commercial job in New Zealand when I got a call from her sister saying that Tia was very ill and that her parents were making plans on bringing her back to America for treatment.  Tia had brain tumour. 

Tia was sent to a private hospital owned by a family friend where she was immediately operated on.  I can’t remember exactly how long the surgery took but it was a successful even though they had a touch and go moment during the surgery.  Her sister also contacted the guy Tia was involved with at the social network to inform him of her condition but instead of being concerned about her well-being, he was pushing for Tia to acknowledge her feelings for him to her family.  He even started to pressure her about marriage.  Needless to say, she broke it off with him.  She was devastated and looked upon herself as a failure.

While she was recuperating at the hospital, she became very close to the neuro-surgeon who operated on her.  He had been spending a lot of time by her bedside talking to her and getting to know her.  Through him, she found the strength to fight her disease, the courage to stay strong, and the will to live.  And today, at 29, she’s finally found love in the true meaning of the word. 

She’s been cancer free for over six months now but she still goes for her regular check ups.  She has her good days and her bad days but she’s determined to live her life to the fullest for she feels that she’s been given another chance in life.

Tia, you inspire me.  May you have many more miracles in your life.

Tia Soeraya

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