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Chinese woman fights cancer, depression by volunteering
17 March 2006

Taiwan, ROC: Hsieh is currently nearly 40 years old. In 1993, she got married to a man from the Wanli district of Tainan City, where they resided after their marriage. After the marriage, however, she began suffering from depression. She regularly took to isolating herself from others. Her friends, however, encouraged her to break out of her situation by starting to participate in volunteer service work.

In 1994, Hsieh started volunteer work in a number of agencies, including serving the Kuomintang Volunteers Team, the mother's volunteer team that helped out in a household registration office, and as a volunteer in the China Youth Corps team that provides services to the mentally and physically handicapped. Hsieh said she discovered that taking part in volunteer service opened a new window for her in how to look at life.

In 2001 and 2002, she added to the list of organizations in which she provided service by serving as a volunteer in a team associated with the Tainan City police administration. She also began to be a volunteer on the patrol team that made rounds in the Wennan community. While she was quite busy with all of her various work, she said that all of this work had special meaning.

In the middle of June in 2004, however, Hsieh began hemorrhaging an abnormally large amount of blood. She went to the hospital to be examined and had a biopsy done. It was confirmed that she had Stage 2 ovarian cancer. When the doctor broke the news to her, Hsieh said that she had already prepared herself for the worst. Not only did she not break down in tears when she heard the news, in fact she had a smile on her face.

Hsieh said that it would be a lie not to admit that contracting cancer is frightening. She felt, however, that if one prepares oneself, things do not have to be as bad as some make them. Of course she was concerned about having to have surgery and what she would be like when she was released from the hospital.

During this whole time, though, she continued to think about how her parents, her husband and her son needed her to care for them, and therefore she was determined to fight the disease head on. One year after the surgery, she went back to the hospital for a routine examination and treatment to see if the cancer had returned. Fortunately, there was no sign that the cancer cells had spread.

Hsieh said that she was determined not to let the cancer cause her to be depressed and force her to lose her determination. Rather, she became more devoted than ever to involving herself in community volunteer work. This year, she became the head of the Hsieho Community. She said that as long as her physical situation allows her to do so, she will provide as much service and volunteer work as possible.

Some of her friends reminded her that she should not forget to take care of herself in her pursuit of carrying out volunteer service. After all, she could only take part in volunteerism if she has a body healthy enough to allow her to do so. Hsieh smiled, saying, "Of course I will take care of myself. However, there is so much to do in life. I am going to do as much as I can." Hsieh also said she believes that her many years of volunteer service has played a role in helping her get the cancer under control and preventing her situation from deteriorating. Her optimistic attitude is something that is admired by people all around her.

Hsieh believes that taking part in volunteer work over the past decade or so has enabled her to learn more and meet many new friends, helping her to broaden her perspective on life. She said that as long as she is alive and there are opportunities to provide volunteer service, she intends to continue to carry out this work.