I first became aware of the need for Singapore to have a bone marrow donor register more than twenty years ago. Like most of my cohorts from university, life was hectic and we were all focused on the career path that lay ahead – in short, the world was full of enormous potential.
Then an old school friend called asking for my professional help after his young son had passed away from leukaemia. He told me that Andrew’s only chance would be a bone marrow transplant but they were unable to find a donor and his sister was not a match. Tremendously courageous, the family turned their grief into a positive action establishing the Bone Marrow Donor Programme so that other patients would be given one last chance to survive through a transplant from a matched unrelated donor.
Providing professional counsel was the very least I could do and over the years any time spent has been well rewarded through seeing more people come forward to sign up and how we have brought hope and a chance of survival to many patients here in Singapore. At the same time, the BMDP plays its part in a global mission and our local donors could bring that same hope to a patient anywhere in the world.
Knowing little about the medical side of our work, I do know that being a bone marrow donor is a commitment that everyone can make – to step forward and put up with some minor inconvenience and from that altruism, they could save a life.
Today I am excited about the path that lies ahead for the BMDP. We have committed to grow the register by another 50,000 donors which makes us one of the largest volunteer organisations in Singapore and that collected power will help us deliver on our promise to save more lives.
I look forward to sharing more about our work.