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Thursday, March 05, 2009

He Overcame The Odds, One At A Time

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Dennis Kweh ~ He Overcame The Odds, One At A Time
By Esther Ng
TODAY Newspaper,
Thursday, March 5, 2009 TODAY

HE WAS born with a rare disease that made his lungs shrink over time.

Because of Morquio Brailsford disease, a basic activity such as walking was difficult for Mr Dennis Kweh (picture) because he was frequently out of breath.

He was also born with spinal sclerosis — a condition that curves the spine — which stunted his growth.

Yet Mr Kweh took these disabilities in his stride, never envying his classmates who could play football or other sports.

Instead, the 47-year-old librarian earned himself three degrees. Besides one in arts, he also has an honours degree in social sciences from the National University of Singapore. In 2001, he graduated with a Master of Science in Information Studies from Nanyang Technological University.

“He’s a very optimistic and determined person. In NUS, there are lots of stairs. But Dennis, with his walking stick, was not deterred,” said Mr Kliff Ang, who befriended Mr Kweh in university.

Because of glaucoma, Mr Kweh lost the use of one eye 20 years ago. Five years ago, he started using a wheelchair to get around because it became increasingly strenuous to walk.

And it will be in his motorised wheelchair that Mr Kweh will make a roadtrip — dubbed Adventure200 — around Singapore from April 21 to 23. He intends to cover about 200km of roads and rugged terrain including MacRitchie Reservoir, Mount Faber and South Buona Vista Road to raise $200,000 — or a dollar for every metre he travels — for the Spastic Children’s Association of Singapore (SCAS).

The trip is also a personal and civic challenge for Mr Kweh, who had been rejected — because of safety concerns — each time he tried to take part in a marathon.

“Adventure200 is also a challenge of mine to get (myself) out of my comfort zone,” he said.

Mr Kweh will be accompanied by a team of eight volunteers and friends. To donate, visit http://www.a200.sg/ or call Start Centre at 6-743-0262.

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