Waking up in the morning to see another day is really a true blessing that we at time overlooked, chasing errands after errands and endless meetings as well as appointments. Time seemed to always ran and fade away each and every day... further and further away from us. This morning was no exception... routine. I woke up this morning, logged on to Facebook and search in the inbox thousands of unopened work email that was lost in cybersphere but instead, I stumbled across an email that woke me up from being half asleep at 4:30am and woke me up from the daily routine.  The Facebook message read as follows:

"Hi Armin, not sure if you remember me but I was in COBC BUA in 2010 and also 2012. Recently I had to take a break as my wife gave birth to our second bundle of joy, baby Leah was born in June 18 and I was the happiest man alive. Though I was really looking forward to coming back to COBC once my wife finish her pantang. My plan was to join the September intake and I was all hands on deck but last Monday I received some devastating news which shook my world and shattered all hopes and dreams in my life. I was confirmed diagnosed with Leukemia and need to go through a long treatment to kill all the white cells. I just want to tell you that now you and Doc Malik are my greatest motivation to beat this Disease. I'm staying strong for my two princess and am positive that I will survive. Take care and send my regards to the rest. I will see u in 6 months in BUA and you have my word for it. Lastly thanks for being in inspiration and motivation to go through this whole ordeal!

Immediately, in the darkness of the early morning, my thought flashed back to those time when I was lost of hope, struggling to make sense of what was becoming of me when I first heard of the word leukemia, 22 years ago. It felt like yesterday.. Scary as it may seem, Zakir's email melted my heart... to learn of his new born princess Baby Leah as he was diagnosed with the deadly cancer.

We befriended Zakir Hussein when he first registered as a recruit at the Chief's Original Bootcamp (COBC), Bandar Utama Alpha in February 2010. The Chief's Original Bootcamp was our best investment that disciplined ourselves in working out and exercising. It has brought together thousands of people whom share the same passion for health and fitness. It became a community by itself and the circle continued to grow bigger and stronger. My partner Dr Malek Aziz and I had never driven COBC as a profit making business but we made it a platform that gathered everyone to take control of their health and be healthy because both Dr Malek and I too, were cancer survivors. Although we were so close to death, but we can never be discipline enough to exercise in the name of health until we found the COBC program. COBC had given us the privelege to meet all kind of people from all walks of life. Zakir was one of them. Before this, it was Adibah Mohamad whom took up COBC training as a healthy lifestyle but was diagnosed to have breast cancer. She is recovering well and is now back at COBC to regained back her fitness and take better care of her health.

I quickly left a message on facebook for Zakir to contact me after profusely conveying my regret for not replying to his email earlier. There were no reply and after 10 minutes, I was too impatient to wait... I would not have forgiven myself if Zakir is gone without me having to at least be there for him. I log on to COBC Online management system and searched for Zakir's contact number. I called Zakir whom had stopped COBC for a year in 2011 and came back for training in January this year but had to stop again when his wife gave birth in June 2012. Zakir answered the call with a weak voice. I quickly introduced myself as Armin from COBC and we chatted. 

Zakir said, the moment the Doctor diagnosed him with Leukemia, he was indescribably devastated and the first person that he thought of was me.. and Dr Malek...

Zakir continued.. he could not stop thinking of his wife and his two princesses.. the thought of them being without him was too unbearable. He is not ready to leave them. They are not ready to be without Zakir. Zakir saw how I survived Leukemia and how Dr Malek is, and he too was confident that he can be as healthy as we both are now. Zakir said, I am convince if Dr Malek and Armin can pull through this, so can I.. Insya Allah.

I was all ears listening to Zakir. I have not met anyone so strong and positive. Zakir said, his wife and the two princesses were his driving factor.

"What triggered you to go for a medical checkup?", I asked full of interest because not many people actually listens to their body and ignored the early symptoms. Zakir said, he felt the lost of energy which he thought was the result from non-bootcamping and non-exercising during the wife's pantang period. Zakir was ready to re-enroll for the September intake not-wanting to be weak but his body continued to worsen. The man whom was a regular jogger who lived an active lifestyle being a biker and a cyclist, could not walked from a lamp post to another without panting for air and feeling dizzy. He was also losing weight drastically. This triggered Zakir to go for a check-up and after a few medical tests including a bone marrow extraction, Zakir was diagnosed to have Acute Lympoblastic Leukemia. Zakir is 34 years old.

Zakir whom had always live a healthy lifestyle just completed his 2nd Chemotheraphy. He has been in and out of Pantai hospital since diagnosis but was cheerful. His other sibling was tested for bone marrow matching but it was not compatible and a Bone Marrow transplant was ruled out as an immediate treatment but the bone marrow transplant with an unrelated donor was still kept as an option, as the last resort. For now, the doctor is satisfied with the progress of the chemotherapy.

We plan to meet up with Zakir sometimes next week and will keep you posted on his progress...

Learning how other people are undergoing the same trauma and agony as what I have been, reminded me to always remember that life is just too short to be taken for granted, too short for comfort and too precious to live without harmony. Life is what we make out of it. Without health, there is no life. When we wake up in the morning, take a moment to ponder.. How am I going to live and make the best of today... because there may not be any tomorrow.....


  1. Good luck Zakir with your battle! It will be tough & daunting but insyaAllah you'll make it through. Just have faith. There's always light at the end of the tunnel :)


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