Christmas

“I am a dead man walking”: He was pronounced dead by four doctors

Do miracles still happen today? This Christmas, Salt&Light brings you a series of stories of God's wondrous acts right here in Singapore.

by Juleen Shaw // December 21, 2018, 8:28 am

Ashley andTony Low

When he was given three months to live, Tony Low's one wish was to survive long enough to see his then nine-month-old son, Lennard, walk. That son (front) is now 21 years old. The Low family in their home in Melbourne. All photos courtesy of Ashley Low.

“I am a dead man walking.”

These are the first words Tony Low, 59, utters when we first meet. 

And he means it literally.

I had watched Tony’s testimony on Youtube – he and his wife Ashley, 56, have spoken in over 100 churches in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.

In London, after Tony’s sharing at three churches, listeners queued up for over an hour to be prayed for individually. At altar calls after their sharing, dozens gave their lives to God.

“I had been fighting life and death with my husband every day for 10 years.”

The thing is, Tony is neither an evangelist nor a preacher. With an MBA and BA in finance and accounting, he had spent 20 years in hotel management, manufacturing and property development in Malaysia.

Ashley, an engineer by training, is Managing Director at the Bank of Singapore.

But the pair of “marketplace evangelists” draws listeners by the hundreds whenever they share.

The first time I meet Tony, I am somewhat bemused at coming face to face with a man whom doctors had, at various times in the past 20 years, pronounced blind, paraplegic and dead.

 Not only is he none of those things, this man standing in front of me is tall and full of vitality, with a resounding voice and a commanding presence.

Most assuredly not dead.

Tony’s life can be played out in numbers:

  • Stage 4 brain cancer, following a 10-year battle with cancers of the nose, eye, lymph nodes and 8 parts of the bone.
  • A son, 9 months old, still crawling.
  • A death sentence – 3 months to live.
  • Multiple organ failure and life support for 6 days.
  • 4 doctors who pronounced him brain dead.

All that was left for his wife, Ashley, to do, was to sign the consent forms to turn off the life support for her husband who lay lifeless in ICU with 12 tubes attached to his body.

The doctors advised her to do so. Her father-in-law gave her his consent.

“By that point, I had been fighting life and death with my husband every day for 10 years,” says Ashley soberly.

“When I went to sleep at night, I dreaded waking up the next morning because I didn’t want to face the reality of not knowing when my husband would die.

“So, by the time the doctors gave me the consent forms, Tony was ready to go and, honestly, I was ready. But what I didn’t know was that God was not ready.

This is the startling story that Tony and Ashley Low relate to Salt&Light.

Waiting for lightning

Ashley: I was brought up in a spiritual family with a mother who consulted mediums, fortune tellers, tarot cards. My great grandaunt was a medium.

As a child, whenever I was sick, my mother would take me to mediums and they would stamp a little piece of yellow paper – a talisman – which my mum would burn and put into water. I would drink that instead of taking Panadol.

Tony, who for 20 years ran a portfolio of hotel, manufacturing and property development companies as managing director, now “works 100% for God”, tirelessly sharing at churches and marketplace conferences how God rose him from the dead.

I had never in my life stepped into a church.

So when my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, the first thing I did was call my mum and ask, “Mum, what do I do?”

She said, “Don’t worry, I’m going to call my master in Penang. He’s a very powerful healer.”

The master told my mother that, because of my husband’s birthdate, if he were to step inside a hospital, he would die.

So I took his advice and burnt 10 talisman papers every night for my husband to drink.

“Looks like your son-in-law needs the ultimate treatment: To be struck by lightning.”

Tony: I asked Ashley, “Why am I drinking this charcoal paper?” And she would say, “Don’t ask, just drink. It will heal you.”

Ashley: After three months, Tony’s neck started growing bigger and bigger. I called my mum again.

“I think the cancer has spread from the nose to the lymph nodes in the neck.”

“Don’t worry,” she said. “Let me call the master again.” This time he sent a bottle of rice wine with scorpions inside. I was told to feed my husband a spoonful of this every night.

Tony: When she gave me the rice wine, she would wrap the bottle with tissue so I would not see what was inside. I obediently drank it.

A few months passed and the cancer spread. I started experiencing a lot of pain. I bled from my nose and the pillow would be bloody every morning.

Ashley: I called my mum again. “It’s going from bad to worse. I need to bring him to see a doctor.” She said, “No, no, let me call the master again.”

The master told her, “Looks like your son-in-law needs the ultimate treatment: To be struck by lightning.”

At that time I was very blinded and living in a world full of superstitions. Looking back, we were really walking in darkness. I was desperate.

Tony: I was seriously sitting on the roof of my mother-in-law’s three-storey house in the pouring rain, thunder all around, holding onto a TV antenna hoping to get struck by lightning. At that time, my wife was very disappointed that I didn’t get struck by lightning.

Our God knew that if I had been struck, yes my cancer would’ve turned to charcoal, but Tony would have also become charcoal!

Praying over listeners after sharing at FGB KL on November 25.

Ashley and Tony Low

After the sharing at FGB Johor Bahru, many came forward during the altar call to receive the Lord and prayers for healing.

Ashley: So he didn’t get struck by lightning. But the cancer spread. We tried all kinds of things for nine months instead of going to the hospital. In that time, his lymph nodes had grown so big that he was not able to sleep and finally he was admitted to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

When the oncologist saw the MRI, there was a pause, and finally she said, “What took you so long?”

Tony: The oncologist sat me down and said, “Look, I’ve done thousands of cases. Let me show you your MRI. I’ve never seen a case like this in my entire medical practice. You have cancer from your head to the lymph nodes and eight parts of your bones. Basically, you are a walking cancer. From head to toe, you are cancer. How do I treat you?”

She said, “Honestly, I’ve never advised anyone in this way, but I’m doing so today: Don’t seek treatment. There’s no treatment. Choose a country you love, go there and enjoy yourself. Come back in three months and get ready.”

By “come back and get ready”, what she meant was “come back and buy your coffin”.

After sharing at three churches in London (above and below), Tony prayed over listeners for over an hour.

Ashley: At that point we were still not Christians and went deep into spiritual meditation. We became vegetarian and practised the precept of no killing. I reasoned that, by not killing, I could prolong my husband’s life.

“By ‘come back and get ready’, what she meant was ‘come back and buy your coffin’.”

Tony: I went to India, Tibet. Basically, I was seeking God.

Who is God? Why is my life on earth so terrible?

The cancer kept coming back. Every three years, cancer would appear in a new area.

God was trying to tell me, “Tony! You are going the wrong way!” Still, as a stubborn man, I went deeper and deeper into spiritualism, thinking this was the way to God. 

The fourth time I had cancer, it went deep into the right side of my brain and grew inside the brain until it was the size of an avocado.

25-hour surgery

Ashley: In the 10 years before we knew God, the cancer came back and forth so many times to haunt us.

Through friends I started going to church and accepted Christ in 2006. But after I accepted Christ, I didn’t tell my mum. I recall that when my only brother in the family had accepted Christ, my mum had disowned him for a few years.  Big drama in the family.

So even though I found the Lord in 2005 and accepted Christ in 2006, I didn’t get baptised till 2008, one month before my husband’s traumatic ICU experience.

And I want to highlight this point – how God orchestrates everything.

I really wanted Tony to witness my baptism. He was very ill that day, but he did.

Tony: I collapsed after witnessing my wife’s baptism and was rushed to hospital. The pressure in my head was so great that the doctor who attended to me, Dr Chee, one of the top brain surgeons in Asia, showed me the MRI and said, “Your tumour is so big that your head cannot contain its growth. If we don’t operate immediately, you will die within hours.”

Brain surgery initially left Tony a paraplegic.

This scan was taken after Tony's first surgery where part of his brain was cut out. After this 14-hour surgery, doctors determined that he needed another surgery to stop his seizures. More of his brain was cut out during the second surgery.

This scan was taken after Tony’s first surgery where part of his brain was cut out. After this 14-hour surgery, doctors determined that he needed another surgery to stop his seizures. More of his brain was cut out during the second surgery. A few years later, another MRI was taken of his brain in Australia – it had miraculously regenerated.

A lot of friends heard and came to visit me in ICU. I recognised most of the faces except one Caucasian man.

I said, “I can’t remember you. I’m sorry, can you tell me your name.” He said, “I’m a pastor from your wife’s church. I’m here to pray for you.”

I became very defensive. I said, “No, don’t pray for me.”

When you’re dying, you never lie. You speak words that come from your heart. So I told this pastor, “One, I don’t know your God. I have not seen him. Two, you are only a pastor.”

Father (Tony in black) and son (blue t-shirt) getting baptised together in June 2009.

Ashley: Tony was chasing the pastor away, telling him, “You’re only a secretary to God and you want me to believe you? I need a direct line!”  

Tony: The pastor was probably thinking, “Gosh this fellow is dying and still asking things like this.”

“It’s very hard to get a Hokkien cemetery plot. My father actually went to buy a site for my burial.”

He came with two elders and still they prayed for me.

The nurses came and trolleyed me to the operating theatre. The doctors cut out one quarter of my brain which was filled with the cancer.

After the 14-hour operation, they called my wife and said, “I’m so sorry, there were complications.” They needed her to sign a consent form to allow a second operation.

The second time around, they had to cut certain areas of the brain so I would stop shaking and having spasms. That was 11 hours. So altogether my operations lasted 25 hours.

My body couldn’t take it. My body gave up. I fell into a coma and became a vegetable.

Called from darkness

Ashley: His lungs collapsed, his kidney failed and he was put on life support. 

During this time, my pastor prayed over him, claiming Isaiah 43. When he prayed for my husband, it was like he was scolding him, “I command you – get out of this body! This body belongs to Christ!”

Ashley and Tony (seated at far end of the table) have shared their testimony in over 100 churches and marketplace conventions in Australia, UK, Malaysia and Singapore.

At that time I was thinking, “Why is he scolding my husband?”

Now I get it – the Lord gives you the authority to take command over spiritual warfare.

Tony: I was told that, the fourth day I was in a coma, the doctor called my father and wife to come in. Four specialists, including the brain surgeon, told my father that I was basically dead – both my lungs had 100% failed, both kidneys had 90% failed, and the other organs were also dying. So it was just a matter of hours.

The Inspired cancer support group Christmas party on December 15. The Lows started the monthly group in Singapore four years ago to minister to cancer patients and their caregivers.

They told my wife to sign a consent form to close the case and switch all the machines off. They were experts, specialists. They told my father to prepare to bury me.

It’s very hard to get a Hokkien cemetery plot. My father actually went to buy a site for my burial.

And this is how awesome our God is. He waited for four specialists to confirm that I was dead.

And then He appeared.

This is the first of a two-part story. Don’t miss the second part here.

Out of the Lows’ miracle experience was born several CBD marketplace groups and a monthly cancer support group in Singapore called Inspired. If you are interested in joining any of the groups, enquire here

For more Salt&Light stories on the outworking of God’s mysterious and mighty power, read Sarah Lyn’s story and Jason and Judith Ong’s story.

About the author

Juleen Shaw

Salt&Light Managing Editor Juleen hails from the newsrooms of Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp Publishing. She has had two encounters with baptismal pools. The first was at age four when her mother, who was holding her hand, tripped and fell into the church baptismal pool, taking Juleen with her. The second was when she actually chose to get baptised.