A critical unit in society, families play an integral role in the development of individuals in espousing the right values and in aggregate, contribute to a stronger community. For individuals who have been afflicted with incurable, potentially life threatening diseases like Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE) or Lupus, it is especially challenging for their family members to help them cope while juggling with their own commitments.

In celebration of International Year of the Family 2014 (“IYF 2014”) in Singapore, organised by the Ministry of Social Development and Family, iFly Singapore organised “Family Appreciation Day” to pay homage to the extraordinary sacrifices made by the family members of various patients suffering from Lupus. It is their families who courageously face adversities hand-in-hand with the patients, day after day and tirelessly help them cope with the disease. 50 patients, families and members of their support network from the Lupus Association of Singapore attended the event and took part in a half days’ worth of activities. This included complimentary flights, a contribution made by ex-MTV VJ and model May from her winnings in the charity initiative “So You Think You Can Fly”, a magic show and refreshments at iFly Singapore.

 Indra Buxani, mother of Lupus patient Haresh Buxani shares, “While things may get challenging at times, caring for Haresh is a gratifying experience. As a family we’ve grown closer, learning to appreciate the smallest things in life from simply being healthy to being able to enjoy the food that we eat on a daily basis. This is a privilege that Haresh doesn’t get to enjoy. Living in fear of when this autoimmune disease strikes, potential triggers and the different symptoms that may arise does take a toll on the individual and the people around them.


Haresh Buxani’s family all geared up outside the wind tunnel.

Indra continues to share we rarely get a day off or find activities that are suitable in Haresh’s rehabilitative process hence this opportunity to fly at iFly Singapore is indeed great for all of us! We get to enjoy the whole experience together as a family and indoor skydiving is a great confidence building exercise as it teaches you to adopt a unique position to ‘fly’ properly while letting go of inhibitions and irrational fears one may have regarding the activity.”

Underpinning IYF 2014 are the core values, love, respect, commitment and big-heartedness. These values help strengthen the foundation for a strong and closely knit family. To promote these values, iFly Singapore is also organising a Facebook campaign that encourages the public to reflect on what they think “loving your family means” to them. Singaporeans will be invited to post a family selfie (“FAMFIE”) on iFly Singapore’s Facebook page along with their reflection in hopes of winning complimentary flights for them and their families.

The Chairman of Families for Life Council, Ching Wei Hong conveyed his views, “Family is life’s greatest blessing. Families play a critical role in the support of persons suffering from lupus or other disabilities. It is this support that aids in the recovery and rehabilitation process. Through the sacrifices made by families and the love shown towards their loved ones, family ties grow stronger. It is commendable that iFly is supporting and recognising the contributions of families through its Family Appreciation Day and a pipeline of CSR activities throughout the year. This is indeed a great way of promoting family and demonstrating corporate responsibility through a sustained 365-day approach.”

In support of the national campaign, Lawrence Koh, Founder and Managing Director of iFly Singapore shares, In addition to the IYF 2014 agenda, we would like to pay tribute to our everyday heroes and honour the families of those who are unable to function like most people on a daily basis. We often underestimate the commitment and sacrifices family members make to provide support for patients hence, we wanted to organise an event to commemorate all of these unsung heroes. This is also in line with iFly Singapore’s pro-family principle and we encourage individuals to make any effort, big or small to show appreciation to the people that have supported them. Our families often act as immediate networks for aid and are always there for us when we need them. Hence with the event that we’re organising today and the campaign we’re running on Facebook, we hope to encourage Singaporeans to reflect on what really matters and show appreciation to all of these unsung heroes in our lives that we often take for granted.”

iFly Singapore will be organising a series of activities with charity organisations such as “Club Rainbow Singapore” and “Happy People Helping People” in celebration of International Year of the Family 2014 from now till the end of the year.


Here is my #Famfie for the Facebook Contest: