In Memoriam — 8 Min Read

In Memoriam – Janet Jia Hwei Lee

In Memoriam — 5 Min Read

Janet was not just a daughter, but a guiding star that illuminated our paths and brought meaning to our lives. Her indomitable spirit, resilience, and unwavering determination inspired us all.

In the face of her illness, her intractable epilepsy, she showed us what true strength meant. As her caregiver, I learned to stand strong and face the challenges head-on. Each hospital visit became an opportunity to grow, to learn the intricacies of different medicines, and to understand their effects. It was through her illness that I discovered the depths of my own courage and resilience.

Her burning desire to learn, despite the obstacles she faced, sparked a fire within me. I delved into the depths of knowledge, searching for answers, and exploring different avenues to support her education. This journey led me to become a parent coach, guiding others who faced similar struggles. Her determination became my motivation to help others on their own journeys of discovery.

She yearned for recognition, to be seen and acknowledged for who she truly was. This compelled me to search tirelessly for ways to provide her with opportunities to thrive, despite her medical, intellectual, and developmental challenges. Her love for colours became a guiding light, a source of inspiration that drove me to find avenues where she could express her creativity while managing her unique obstacles.

Her unyielding desire to graduate, to walk proudly alongside her sister and cousins, fuelled my determination. It pushed me to explore every possible option, to seek out solutions that would help her achieve her dreams. Each step forward was fuelled by her hunger for success, constantly pushing me to strive for more, to never settle for what was already in place.

Today, let us remember her not only for the challenges she faced, but for the immense strength and resilience she possessed. She taught us the power of unwavering determination, the beauty of embracing one’s passions, and the importance of supporting those who strive for recognition and opportunity.

In our hearts, her light will forever shine brightly, reminding us to embrace life’s challenges with grace and courage. She made me shine, and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

She will forever be loved and remembered by me, her dad, sister, and niece.

On July 7, 2023, Janet Jia Hwei Lee’s life was prematurely ended by cancer. Janet was an amazing artist, warrior against the challenges she confronted with epilepsy, and a shining light for the neurodivergent community!

Janet had her first seizure at eight months and then began a life of intractable seizures. Her parents have said, “They could not imagine how different life could have been for her or us with and without epilepsy.”

Janet Jia Hwei Lee and her family are passionate supporters of the Hidden Truths Project and The Art of Epilepsy exhibits. They have become strong pillars representing the international community of artists with epilepsy Hidden Truths Project has had the great fortune to work with.

“Hidden Truths Project has given Janet the opportunity to see epilepsy as an enabler, and we (as her parents) hope that this project will do the same to those whom we are recruiting. The opportunity for Janet to participate in The Hidden Truths Project in 2014 was a major breakthrough for her. It was this event that restored her self-esteem and allowed her to see that there are people who are willing to accept her for who she is and appreciate the effort that she put into her work. Since then, she has looked forward to the yearly event to showcase her work and continues her charter to bring light to others by promoting The Hidden Truths Projects, sharing her life story in the media and at support group events, and inviting others to join her to exhibit their capabilities whenever such an opportunity arises. Joyce Moi (Janet’s mother)

We were honored to meet Janet and her family in 2014 at DAX Gallery at Hidden Truths, the Mind Unraveled exhibit on their first journey from Malaysia to attend. Throughout subsequent years their support of Hidden Truths Project has been unwavering. Although a woman of few words, upon viewing her art, Cherry Blossoms displayed on the wall with the other artists, Janet had a sparkle in her eyes and a smile on her face.

Despite living with intractable epilepsy and cognitively disabled, Janet was determined to rise above and prove to the world the impossible was possible. In 2011, under her mother’s guidance, she began Janet’s Cookies, Art & Craft House and opened her first outlet Janet’s Corner, in 2015. Unable to read or write until she was 16, Janet, at age 27, received a Diploma in Small Business Management. In April 2017, Janet joined VIDA (a US-based online fashion house) as one of their designers, transforming her beautiful paintings into attractive apparel and fashion accessories.

In 2020, Janet Lee Gallery was opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia showcasing Janet’s collection of art and products. The popularity of Janet’s beautiful art grew to adorn the walls of many homes across the globe. Roses Peacock Gerbera Daisies

Although I feel a personal sense of loss, more importantly, the world has lost an amazing human being, a talented artist, and strong voice for the epilepsy community.

Janet Jia Hwei Lee’s impact and creative narrative will forever live on!

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