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Warren Sheldon Humphries: Rising Strong

Instead of letting life’s battles defeat him, read how this man’s personal setbacks made him even more determined to help his family and the community.

In 2019, I lost my father. Despite his prolonged illness and numerous hospital stays, his passing felt sudden. My mother didn’t take his departure well and struggled with the guilt of wondering if she could have done more.

During this time, I was facing my own challenges. I was the sole provider for my family and also responsible for my mother-in-law, who was grappling with depression while living alone. Balancing my own mental health and coping with suicidal thoughts made it difficult to care for others. Despite not being particularly close to my family at the time, I knew I had to step up and support them, including my younger brother who had three young children and was also providing support to my estranged daughter.

In 2020, I discovered CAL’s 12-week programme. That same year, I went through a divorce and was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth, an incurable nerve-damaging disease. A family member was also struggling with depression.

Attending CAL’s Caregivers-to-Caregivers Programme (C2C) had a dual impact: it taught me how to care for my family members and, importantly, for myself. My background in grief counselling and my experience working at a funeral home proved invaluable. I now serve as a crisis helpline responder and a student educator for medical students. On overwhelming days, I draw on my accumulated knowledge and listen to music to find solace.

Sheldon with CAL CEO Tim Lee and caregiver Imran Wee at an AIC event

My journey with CAL profoundly shifted my perspective on caregiving. Hearing my classmates' stories of resilience, despite our diverse backgrounds, was truly inspiring. I aspired to live up to the collective strength of the group.

While there have been small triumphs, such as initiating a caregiver programme at a swim school, advocating for PWDs as an iChamp and working as a para-counsellor three times a week, the path has not been without its challenges.

My daughter, now 27, and I have not spoken for years. I hold hope that one day we can mend our relationship. Interestingly, my disease has fortified me, compelling me to demonstrate that I can emerge stronger from adversity. My mother and brother have been my steadfast pillars of support. My brother's unwavering presence and my mother's prayers provide me with the strength to persist.

Back then, I faced a crucial decision: to seek an easy way out or to persevere through every hardship. I chose the latter, recognising that the person being cared for doesn't always have to be the one who feels like they're always receiving.

I now volunteer with CAL for outreach and advocacy, and recently obtained qualifications to be a Volunteer Trainer, co-facilitating C2C classes and helping other caregivers on their journeys. This experience has been truly transformative. I now feel a sense of purpose, going to bed each night with confidence that tomorrow will be provided for.

These days, moments of joy are found in seeing my mother smile and witnessing her efforts to bridge the gap between my daughter and me. Perhaps I am the prodigal son, now working earnestly to rebuild that bond and grant my mother the dignity she deserves.


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