"Amid her illness, she was still doing her duties."
Karawang, West Java (ANTARA News) - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono applauded the late Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih`s fighting spirit, saying that she was a hard-working person whose contribution to the country was great.

"Amid her illness, she was still doing her duties," said the President in his remarks during Endang's funeral service at San DiegoHills cemetery complex, Karawang, West Java, on Thursday.

According to the President, Endang had initiated the development programme to improve community health status.

"She led the health reformation programme, which aimed to prevent infectious diseases, lower the infant and maternal mortality rates, and reduce malnutrition throughout Indonesia," he said.

President Yudhoyono also praised Endang`s spirit, recalling that she attended the entire series of events during Ramadan (Muslims' month of fasting), despite the tight schedules and her illness.

"But, as a physician who really understood her body`s condition, Endang proposed her resignation from the minister`s post several days ago, so that the Health Ministry`s functioning did not get affected by her situation. It`s an attitude and a sense of responsibility that we should look up to," he said.

On that occasion, President Yudhoyono read aloud the words written by Endang in April 2011, from the introduction of her book titled "Making Peace with Cancer".

Here are a few lines from her book:

"I cannot be called a cancer survivor. Stage four lung cancer was established five months ago. And while I write this foreword, I am struggling to cope. But I do not ask, `Why me? I assume this is a gift from Allah."

"There is so much grace I have received in this life: living in a beautiful, peaceful country; a large and well-off family; a very patient and kind husband; and two sons and one daughter who are healthy, intelligent, and dutiful."

"My life is full of happiness. So why shouldn't God give me a gift of lung cancer? God has a plan, which I do not know, but I am ready to face it. Inshallah. At least I am alive so I can fight cancer."

"For my fellow cancer patients and survivors, let us thank God for all His grace and learn to be grateful. Indeed, the length of life is not as important as the quality of life. Let`s do the best we can today and do it with all our heart. And let us not forget to express our feelings to those we love, being grateful that we have been given the opportunity to do so."

Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2012