Feature Story – Lt Redzky Fadzillah

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Photo courtesy of Brunei Times

Lt Redzky is a marathon runner. In the last two years, he participated in almost every marathon run in Brunei. Standard Chartered, BIBD, HSBC, Pusat Ehsan and government sponsored runs. Lt Redzky tried not to miss any. Given the amount of training and effort that goes into preparing for a marathon, most runners aim to increase their distance, improve their timing and maybe even win a medal.

However, Lt Redzky went from running a full marathon to doing 5 kilometer runs at slower and slower times. The last race he completed was a 2.5km run just two weeks ago. But this time instead of running, he had to walk his way to the finish line with the help of a crutch. With every marathon, Lt Redzky accomplished something that was far greater than attaining a medal – to him, it was another day of triumph over cancer.

Lt Redzky explained that running was a way to channel his anger with cancer and to get rid of his frustrations. Even though the physical demands took a toll on his body, he felt a great sense of relief afterwards. It helped to keep him calm. He made it his mission not to conceal his illness, but to “wear it on his sleeve”. In fact the T-Shirt he wore on his frail body had the word “C-a-n-c-e-r” written boldly across it for everyone to see.

He did this because he wanted to make people stop and think. He put it simply, “When people see me run, I hope it inspire them not to make any excuse for not running. I hope it reminds fellow patients not to give up hope!”

Lt Redzky thinks that the word, ‘positive’ is overrated. He feels that it is so overly used to encourage Cancer patients that it has lost its real meaning. “Being positive doesn’t solve any problem, taking action does!” he explained.

Two years ago when Lt Redzky was diagnosed with stage 4 pelvic mass cancer, he went through the same emotional roller coaster like anyone else. But he did not let Cancer defeat his spirit. If anything, having Cancer seemed to have renewed his resolution to live life to the fullest. He took up courses in sewing and dressmaking. Not only was he one of the finest students in class, his work has won him awards. He has since made 3 wedding gowns (one for her sister and two were sold), all of which were created from his hospital bed at JPMC. With no time to waste, instead of taking two and a half years to complete a business course at Laksamana College, Lt. Redzky fast tracked the diploma and finished in just 6 months. Imagine having to do such intense studying while fighting a daily battle with cancer. But he tackled this like he would any of his marathons and proved that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. Lt Redzky completed the course with the willpower of a true navy lieutenant.

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Lt Redzky described one of his proudest moment in life was the ability to conduct before His Majesty the Sultan at the 47th RBAF Gala Night Celebration Anniversary at Officers Mess Bolkiah Garrison. He was also the first military officer who was sent for the UK Royal Marine Band Training, one of the elite band academies in the world.

Lt Redzky wants to tell people who are fighting cancer that: no matter how bad the situation is, it is still within your capacity to take control of your thoughts and take action.

To the healthy people out there, he wishes that you will never have to take a journey like his. With the best intention, he cautioned that one should not take life for granted. His advice is one that is simple and yet often forgotten: “Spend quality time with your friends, your family and always be grateful. For each day you wake up healthy, it is already the best gift from above.”

Lt Redzky passed away on the 9th September 2014; less than a week after our interview with him. His fighting spirit lives on, with every person he touches with his story.

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Photo compilations from friends of Lt Redzky

This article was published in the Oct-Dec 2014 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!