Leukaemia struck suddenly for Jim Hing-foon, but after time he was able to accept his condition It was not unusual for Jim Hing-foon to feel exhausted. Having been a truck driver for decades, he was used to the long hours and early starts. But when his ears began to ring every time he got out of bed he suspected that he had lost equilibrium in his ears. An X-ray and visits to western and Chinese doctors turned up nothing. It wasn't until one of his friends pointed out to him during lunch that his retina seemed to have turned completely white, that he sensed all was not well despite what doctors had said earlier. After a week of tests at the Prince of Wales Hospital, he was given the terrifying diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia; a fast-growing cancer in which the body produces a large number of immature white blood cells. 'I had no idea what leukaemia even was,' said Mr Jim who will turn 53 this year. 'When I found out I just cried. I couldn't believe that having been healthy and fit all my life and never even been in hospital, the first thing I get landed with is something this serious,' he said. Though his first session of intravenous chemotherapy failed to kill all the cancerous cells, a change in drugs soon put things right after three months. 'I found chemotherapy the hardest part of the illness. My mouth developed sores because I was throwing up so much. I could only eat liquidised food and had lost all my hair within the first week of treatment,' he recalled. Yet he could be considered fortunate. Of his five older siblings, four were considered good bone morrow transplant matches. Doctors, who warned the chance of the disease re-occurring would be greater without the transplant, eventually chose the youngest of his four siblings, one of his sisters in her early 50s, for the donation. The transplant went smoothly, though it would take the best part of a year before Mr Jim could return to life as he once knew it. 'I have probably lost about 20 per cent of my immune system and even some of my memory as a result,' he said. 'What I most fear is getting a fever because I can become unconscious and it can alter my condition very rapidly. I just don't have the same immune system as that of a healthy person to fight it.' Time has proved to be the greatest healer. 'In the first six months following the diagnosis I was unhappy and scared. I was never really confident that I would be cured particularly as I saw other patients around me pass on,' he said. 'It wasn't until a year later when I saw myself improving that I really began to accept the illness for what it was.'