Racing Against the Odds – Dr William Tan's Journey Back to list

Dr William Tan’s jovial personality sometimes makes us forget the hardships he faced. At two years old, polio left him paralysed from the waist-down. “(My parents) were advised to put me in an orphanage,” he revealed in a radio interview on 91.3FM. They never took that advice but instead, nurtured him to help him reach his potential.

When speaking to Dr William Tan, it was clear that his resilience stems from his parents’ tenacity. “Your brain isn’t paralysed,” Dr Tan recalls being encouraged by his parents from young. He went on to become an accomplished student and Paralympian, representing Singapore at the Seoul Paralympics in 1988.

However, 2009 threw him yet another curveball. Diagnosed with stage 4 leukemia, his oncologist predicted he had less than a year to live. A failed stem cell donation complicated his condition but he continued fighting. Now, he is entering his 14th year of remission.

Giving Thanks – Refusing to waste his second chance at life, when COVID-19 hit Singapore, he continued working as a physician as his patients “invigorated (him) to do more”. The pandemic opened his eyes to the needs of the community, driving his desire to continue doing good.

Dr Tan’s upcoming campaign is a celebration and display of tenacity. Identifying with Filos’ mission to build resilience and to empower the underprivileged, he hopes to support its programmes and beneficiaries through his campaign. Dr Tan’s message to Filos’ beneficiaries and our readers is simple- “Each day is a new dawn. Let's endeavour to live each day better than the last.”

We are grateful for Dr Tan’s support and wish him all the best in his upcoming marathon!

Inspired by Dr William Tan’s journey?
 Support him by donating directly to his fundraiser at!