Indonesian disaster mitigation spokesman expresses solidarity with ex first lady Ani Yudhoyono

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, who is struggling from cancer, sent an encouraging message to former first lady Ani Yudhoyono, who is now receiving treatment for leukaemia in National University Singapore Hospital.

“Bu Ani, maybe I am a nobody to you. But as a cancer patient I know how it hurts physically and mentally when the doctors diagnose us with cancer,” Sutopo said.

Sutopo, who became a media darling last year as he got on with his job spreading official information and combating hoaxes during the frequent major disasters in Indonesia despite being critically sick, had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and is now undergoing his eighth chemotherapy session.

“The fact that Bu Ani has blood cancer means that God loves you. God is testing our patience, power and faith so that we continuously pray, ask for mercy, [so that God] lifts our pain without leaving any other pain,” he said.

Sutopo also said Ani had to use this opportunity to adopt a healthier lifestyle, as well as to keep thinking positively.

Sutopo also greeted Ani’s husband, former president Susilo “SBY” Bambang Yudhoyono. “Pak SBY and family have to be patient in taking care of Ibu Ani. Family is the main source of spirit, especially for cancer patients,” he said.

On Wednesday, Yudhoyono revealed that Ani had been receiving intensive medical care at the National University Hospital in Singapore since Feb. 2.

“I ask for the prayers of everyone that God will cure my beloved wife so that she can continue her activities back home,” he told the press in Singapore.

Yudhoyono also thanked President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, the government and well-wishers for their support and kind words for his wife.

Democratic Party spokeswoman Imelda Sari said on Tuesday that the family and presidential medical team had met with the doctors who had been treating Ani in Singapore.

Ani also received good wishes and flowers from state leaders, including Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Jokowi and First Lady Iriana, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian.

Gerindra Party deputy chairman Fadli Zon said it would be understandable if Yudhoyono put on hold his campaign on behalf of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in order to take care of his wife.

Yudhoyono, whose party officially supports Prabowo in the April 17 presidential election, was initially scheduled to campaign for Prabowo in Central and East Java.

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