Rare Parkinson's Heroes Who Changed the World
Mr. Lloyd Tan is the icon and hero of the Parkinson's community. His spirit lives in us forever. Let us feel his energy as he guides us to live with Parkinson's, reaches out to us to give hope and inspiration.

Prior to the era of the MPDA, PD was a largely unknown illness in this country. The Malaysian public had no clues at all about this illness. It was nothing but a mystery.

Many people did not even know that it was a brain disease. For anyone who had been told to have PD, the first reactions were fear and uncertainty.

Not knowing what to do, most Parkinson’s patients succumbed to the illness even before the physical disability became severe. Many of them gave up even before the fight started. They succumbed to the fear.

Nevertheless, in 1992, someone changed the whole scenario, in a drastic manner. He was a man who had a lot of dreams for the society.

A “God-sent man” decided to reach out to the Parkinson’s community and thus, initiated a revolution in the Parkinson’s care in this country. He was Mr. Lloyd Tan Pao Chan, a teacher and a newly diagnosed Parkinson’s patient, who always thought that life was about doing something to change the society and world.

On 5th September 1993, an article about PD with the title “Help for Parkinson’s victims” was published in The Star, a local English newspaper. In this article, Mr. Wong Twee Jin highlighted the role of a Parkinson’s support group. Having witnessed how his father suffered from PD, Mr. Wong realized that Parkinson’s patients and caregivers needed to do something for themselves. As such, in the article, Mr. Wong invited the Parkinson’s patients and caregivers to get together for a discussion.

In a short time, a historical meeting was held at a restaurant in SS2, Petaling Jaya on 11th September 1993. It was attended by Mr. Wong Twee Jin, Mr. LK Nathan (Parkinson’s caregiver), Mr. Leong Chung Thad (Parkinson’s caregiver) and Ms. Lillian Ang (Parkinson’s caregiver).

Following the initial discussion, another meeting was held in December 1993, at Mr. Leong Chung Thad’s house at SS2, Petaling Jaya. In addition to the four persons who attended the first meeting, others who were present at the second meeting were Mr. Lloyd Tan, Mdm. Theresa Barbosa (Parkinson’s patient), Mdm. Koo Tan Choo (Parkinson’s patient), Mr. Victor Arul (Parkinson’s caregiver), Mr. Koh Hun Wai (Parkinson’s patient) and Mr. Choo Cheow Piew (Parkinson’s caregiver).

During the second meeting, the idea of setting up the first Parkinson’s support group in Malaysia was further discussed. Following the second meeting, a pro-tem committee was formed on 8th January 1994.  Mr. Lloyd Tan was unanimously elected to be the Chairman while Mr. LK Nathan became the Deputy Chairman.

November 1994 – Mr. Lloyd Tan’s home at Section 11, Petaling Jaya

The President meeting his colleagues shortly after the registration of the Parkinson’s Disease Association of Selangor and Federal Territory. From left: Mdm. Theresa Barbosa, Mr. Michael Barbosa, Mr. Wong Twee Jin, Mr. LK Nathan, Mrs. Lloyd Tan and Mr. Lloyd Tan

After nine months of hard work, the pro-tem committee’s effort paid off. On 12th September 1994, the Parkinson’s Disease Association of Selangor and Federal Territory was born.

The following was the line-up of the first Committee:

President : Mr. Lloyd Tan Pao Chan
Vice-President : Mr. LK Nathan
Secretary : Mr. Wong Twee Jin
Ass. Secretary : Ms. Tan Teck Bee
Treasurer : Mr. Leong Chung Thad
Ass. Treasurer : Mr. Lim Lian Kheng
Committee Members : Ms. Lillian Ang
Mdm. Theresa Barbosa,
Mdm. Koo Tan Choo
Mr. Choo Cheow Piew
Ms. Sandrie Thesseira.

 

With the kind assistance of Dr. Lee Moon Keen, the Consultant Neurologist at the University Hospital (currently known as University Malaya Medical Centre), Kuala Lumpur, the association successfully

1994 – The Young Women Christian Association, Petaling Jaya

Mr. Lloyd Tan (seated on the right) taking part in Qigong exercises with fellow Parkinson’s patients
held its first meeting at Bilik Delima, University Malaya Medical Centre on 5th March 1994.

Since then, the association started having its monthly meetings. It also successfully published its newsletter once every two months.

As Mr. Lloyd Tan’s physical disability gradually became more severe, he voluntarily stepped down as the President of the association on 2nd March 1996.

Mr. Lloyd Tan once wrote, “I continued to hold the President’s post till 1996, when my deteriorating physical condition left me with no choice but to step down. Leaving my beloved association was actually one of the hardest decisions that I have made in my life.”

Committee Members of the MPDA (1996-1998): Berita Parkinson, dated April 1996

Seated (from left) – Ms. Amy Diong (Hon. Secretary), Mr. Lloyd Tan (Life President), Dato’ Seri Dr. JP Tan (President), Mr. LK Nathan (Vice-President) and Mr. LK Lim (Hon. Treasurer).
Standing (from left) – Mr. Thayalan Nathan (Hon Asst. Secretary), En. Mohd. Zabidi Ramli (Comm. Member), Pn. Rihanun bt Md. Samin (Comm. Member), Ms. Betty Lim (Comm. Member), Mdm. Marian Lough (Comm. Member) and Mr. Rubearn Lee (Comm. Member)
In 1996, the original name of the association was deemed inappropriate and was changed to Malaysian Parkinson’s Disease Association.

However, this was not the end of Mr. Lloyd Tan’s contribution to the Parkinson’s community in Malaysia. He continued to attend most of the MPDA functions (on his wheelchair), to show his support for the association. It was the 3rd Asia-Pacific PD Association meeting that was held at Hong Kong SAR in 2001, where I had the opportunity to be close to him for the first time.

Despite being wheelchair-ridden, I saw how he tried his very best to travel all the way to Hong Kong and even attended most of the lectures. I was touched and amazed by the extraordinary courage of such a physically weak person.

December 2001 – The 3rd International Symposium of the Asia Pacific Parkinson Association, Hong Kong SAR

From left: Mr. Lloyd Tan, Mrs. Lloyd Tan, Mrs. Chee Liew Seong and Mr. Chee Liew Seong

20th April 2003 – The 10th Annual Gathering of the MPDA, Crystal Crown Hotel, Petaling Jaya

Memorable moment – cutting the cake (from left): YB Tan Sri Datuk Paduka Dr Hjh Saleha Mohd Ali (President of the Malaysian Council for Rehabilitation), Mr. Lloyd Tan and the late Mr. Chung Soo Yin

20th September 2003 – Mr. Lloyd Tan (on wheelchair) speaking during a talk at Pantai Bangsar Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur

25th Sept 2004 – 10th Anniversary of the MPDA, Pantai Bangsar Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur

The first committee (founding) members of the MPDA (1994-5):

Standing (from left) – Mr. Lim Lian Kheng (caregiver), Ms. Tan Teck Bee (caregiver), Mr. Leong Chung Thad (caregiver), Mr. Choo Cheow Piew (caregiver); Seated (from left) – Mr. Wong Twee Jin (caregiver), Mr. LK Nathan (caregiver), Mdm. Koo Tan Choo (Parkinson’s patient), Mr. Lloyd Tan Pao Chan, Mdm. Teresa Barbosa (Parkinson’s patient) and Ms. Lillian Ang (caregiver). Ms. Sandrie Thesseira was not present

Despite not being directly involved in the MPDA, Mr. Lloyd Tan continued to inspire many other people to step forward to help the Parkinson’s patients in Malaysia. His charisma, leadership, honesty and sincerity were reflected by one of his last published messages:

“It is my desire that the association will continue to flourish, to give hope and inspiration to its members, both old and new, and eventually have a building of its own. It is my dream that there will be ample supply of books and reading material as well as exercise equipment for the betterment of its members”.

“We may not be able to lead a ‘normal’ life, but we can surely make good with the rest of it!”

This selfless warrior will always be with, and inspire all the Parkinson’s patients forever and ever. May his soul rest in peace.

8th October 2005 – Physiotherapy session at Pantai Bangsar Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur

Mr. Lloyd Tan (lying on the floor: bottom left corner) frequently volunteered to participate in physiotherapy sessions. When this photograph was taken, he was already wheelchair-ridden