Singaporebrides | Fashion

March 2018

Hashy Yusof and Marc Than’s Stunning Pre-Wedding Shoot and Inspiring Story of Overcoming Paralysis

Told she was going to be paralysed, reality TV singing competition finalist Hashy Yusof beat the odds and learnt to walk again, with the unwavering support of her fiancé Marc Than, who never left her side.

Hashy Yusof, 23, Marketing Executive, was a top 11 finalist of the local singing competition the Final 1 when she fell during a performance, and was told by doctors that she was going to be paralysed due to a large tumour in her spinal cord. Devastated and fighting depression, Hashy had then-boyfriend Marc Than, 33, Sales and Marketing Manager, to lean on. Marc stood by her and didn’t give up hope, and he finally found a surgeon who believed an operation would be possible.

After having half the tumour removed, Hashy learned to walk again, and even strutted down the catwalk in The New Paper New Face 2017. Her pillar of support during the arduous journey to recovery, Marc proposed to Hashy during a holiday in Japan, and the couple will get married on 31 March 2018. Read their incredibly inspiring story in detail and see their beautiful pre-wedding shoot below.

How did you meet?

Hashy: We met on the reality TV singing competition, The Final 1 Season 1, in 2013. We were both in the Top 60 at that time. Everything was very new to me and Marc was there for me as a friend. He helped me along the way and gave me advice and guidance. We spent quite a bit of time together as we were also being promoted as students and alumni of Temasek Polytechnic.

What drew you to each other? What’s one of the things you love most about your partner?

Marc: Hashy is the kindest person I know. She doesn’t have a malicious bone in her body, and puts her family first always. The more I got to know her, the deeper I fell in love with her. She’s got a lovely nature, and is ever so caring. She’s the strongest person and has incredible determination. Plus, she is breathtaking!

Hashy: Even though it was a competition, he was very helpful and caring to the people around him. I appreciated that a lot. I dare say that I chased him first! He is also a very charismatic person, and cute. So why not!?

How did you first discover the tumour in your spinal cord, Hashy?

Hashy: I had a fall on The Final 1’s live show, and started having back pains after. I didn’t think too much of it because I thought it was just a normal backache. It persisted for around two and a half years despite me taking painkillers and checking if I had injured my backbone, etc. The pain got so bad that I had to sleep seated upright for over a year. We finally discovered the tumour after doing an MRI scan.

It was a big tumour inside my spinal cord and the first doctor I saw, Head of Neurology at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, said that I was going to be paralysed from the waist down if I went forward with surgery. He advised me against it and told me to prolong the usage of my legs, because even without surgery I was going to be paralysed eventually. It was because my tumour was entangled with the nerves in my legs.

At that point, I was broken. I thought everything was over. I was only 22 at that point and I was going to be paralysed. I didn’t even know how to take that news. Marc accompanied me to the appointment and after that, I went to the toilet and cried. I didn’t understand how and why. Why me?

But I had Marc. Marc was my pillar of strength. He stood by me and didn’t falter at any point because he knew that I needed him. I was at my weakest: barely walking, constantly in pain physically, and after the news, emotionally and mentally hurting as well. Marc was nothing but the most patient and understanding person. It was a big burden for him to carry but he really took it all and gave me all that he could to make sure that I didn’t give up.

Marc, how did you cope with the news?

Marc: We didn’t expect the news we got. I was ready to sink everything I had into wheelchair-proofing my family’s home.

I knew I was not going to give up; I couldn’t give up. I was so scared, and for the first time, had to call her family together to discuss how we would tackle this. I had to break the news to the family, which was not easy.

I started researching neurosurgeons. I went through the directory of specialists Mount Elizabeth Hospital had on their site, and gravitated towards one particular profile, Dr Keith Goh.

We’re so glad to hear that the surgery successfully removed half the tumour! Tell us about the recovery journey.

Marc: A few days after Hashy’s operation, I was seated next to her in the hospital and I must have looked worried. She turned to me, reached out for my hand and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll walk again. Who else is going to take care of you?” I would joke with her and say, “OK, once you can walk again, I’ll propose.” She would look me dead in the eye and say, “You better keep your word.” Hahaha! Her determination over the next few months was incredible.

Hashy: It was as mentally and emotionally challenging as it was physically. I had to learn how to walk again because my legs were not syncing up with my brain. When I tried to take a step forward, my leg would go backwards. It was difficult. Also, I gained so much weight due to the steroids and medications I was taking. I was upset every day, so I’m sure it was taxing on Marc too. I was just a big mess.

But I was so very determined to walk again! I insisted and practised and I… walked again.

Marc: It was very emotional because it was painful to see her struggling to do simple tasks like walk over to the toilet, or even tie her laces. She or her mum would send me videos of her daily trials of relearning how to walk. After about two and a half weeks, I videoed her walking without aid from the food court to my car. I walked behind her tearing to myself. It was difficult to see someone who has her whole life ahead of her go through this. That was difficult. However, the strength that she has shown has been incredible. Till today she still experiences numbness in her legs, yet she walked down the catwalk for The New Paper New Face 2017 competition. That to me is incredible.

Do you have any advice to share with couples who might be facing challenges of their own?

Hashy: Marc was gentle, patient, understanding, and loving. I am so sure he went through so much during the whole ordeal, but he stood his ground and kept strong for me, because he knew I needed it without me having to tell him or ask him. He was calm and he was the balance that I needed. Never once did he make me feel like I was a burden even though I knew that I was. I could barely get a glass of water on my own! Some days, he would say nothing at all and just hug me. That kind of tender and simple gesture can do more than anyone thinks!

Marc: I think as difficult as it may seem, be completely honest with each other. If you need anything, even if it’s as simple as a hug, ask for it. Be open with your partner and ensure he or she knows what is going on with you. If they needs you, be there for them. Be the best person you can. You will not always have the answer, but you need to listen to what they are going through or may have to say. I think if two people offer the best of themselves to one another, they would be just fine.

So once Hashy learnt to walk again, did Marc propose?

Hashy: He proposed when we were in Tokyo, Japan! He brought me to Shinjuku Gyoen for a walk, and it was so beautiful. I had no idea what was going on or how nervous he was; I was just distracted as per usual. I was rolling on the grass, taking 1001 photos, till we came to a bridge. He said we should take a video. So I took out the GoPro and starting taking videos, and a video of us. I was spinning around and when I turned back to Marc, he was down on one knee, with the ring.

I watch a lot of Korean dramas so I thought I would be prepared for when he proposes, and it would be all dreamy and I would cry. But while it was all still dreamy, I went, “WHAT YOU DOING AH?! OMG, ARE YOU SERIOUS?” and I kept laughing and giggling like I had lost my mind. Hahaha! But it was so sweet.

Tell us about your beautiful pre-wedding shoot.

Hashy: We did the pre-wedding shoot with Z Wedding Design and Chris Ling International Photographers! We wanted something beautiful and grand. I think they did a great job. The dresses available were all so beautiful and nothing short of grand. They are so detailed and I was so happy to be able to try a whole bunch. Chris Ling was great too! They made us feel comfortable during the shoot and captured beautiful shots.

When will the wedding be and what are your plans for it?

We will be holding the ceremony at Tamarind Hill. It will be a very intimate soiree for our nearest and dearest! It will be a night for all of us to celebrate our union. We don’t want anything too formal. We want it to be fun, lighthearted, and a night that we will remember forever. There’ll be Thai food, music, and drinks, and we look forward to the speeches! That will be fun and funny, because what are the odds of two people meeting on a reality TV singing competition eventually getting married!?

The Photographer: Chris Ling International Photographers
The Bride’s Outfits: Z Wedding Design
The Bride’s Shoes: Z Wedding Design
The Groom’s Outfits: Z Wedding Design
The Groom’s Shoes: Groom’s own
The Engagement Ring: Blue Nile
The Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Z Wedding Design
The Florist: Hello Flowers!
The Prop Rentals: Chris Ling International Photographers

Credits: Images by Chris Ling International Photographers

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Hashy Yusof and Marc Than’s Stunning Pre-Wedding Shoot and Inspiring Story of Overcoming Paralysis