AN 18-year old terminal cancer patient recently became an inspiration to over 1,000 youths his age when he attended Radio Television Hong Kong's (RTHK) ''Promising 18 Youth Action Day'' at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre's piazza. Chow Wang-hong, a victim of the final stage of bone cancer, showed that what occupied his mind now was not so much the haunting shadow of death, but a love and celebration of life. ''I feel that I'm running towards the end of my race. But death happens to everyone, it's only a matter of time,'' said the fragile boy in a husky voice that betrayed his long battle with disease. ''I try to live each day happily, and hope to help others in a similar situation.'' Wang-hong was one of a group of outstanding young people invited by Radio 2 to share their experiences and encourage the 18-year-old youths present to set goals for a responsible and positive life. But the cancer-stricken teenager's unusual optimism and unflagging struggle with life had made him an exceptionally good example. Wang-hong's story can easily cause despair in any youth. First, he lost his right eye to a tumour when he was barely 10 months old. Despite the handicap, he managed to be a top-achiever in primary school. But studies soon became too tiring, and he had to stop attending school at Form 4. That was when another tumour took his left leg. The cancer spread and he had to have part of his lung removed as well. He is now undergoing painful chemotherapy each day. The indomitable Wang-hong, however, does not allow self-pity to take away his hope for a better life. ''I did feel a bit sad for myself at first, but I soon got over it. The most important thing for me now is to improve myself and live each day meaningfully, like participating in events like this.'' Wang-hong is now devoting himself to the piano, which he started learning in Primary 4. ''I hope to achieve with my hands what my eyes cannot. I've always wanted to become a pianist. One must go on and never give up,'' he said. He also tries to lift the spirits of hospital patients by sharing his experiences with them whenever he can. To show his support, he joined all those present in signing Radio 2's giant sympathy card that was meant to accompany a ''mission of promising 18'' to the earthquake disaster zone of India from December 7 to 12. Singers Leon Lai, Shirley Kwan, Winnie Lau, Yeung Choi-li and Gigi Lai sang the theme song ''Keeping Up with the Times.''