Many around me till today are puzzled over the fact that I chose to leave the comfort and stability of civil service after seven years to pursue a different career path. Though work settings may have changed, my original intent to serve the public and community stays the same. Knowingly a cliché, there’s always a part of me that desires to give back and serve the society that nurtured me as the person I am today. When a friend was struck with leukaemia in early 2017, joining the Bone Marrow Donor Programme was the logical choice.
Being part of the donor recruitment team and able to observe how the community kampong spirit being slowly rekindled, as we reach out to the different communities, has since been a wonderful experience. Understanding that my work can potentially help save many lives in the future gave me a far greater sense of achievement than seven years of pushing papers and battling bureaucracies.
But my journey in the BMDP was not a smooth sailing one as unfavourable news about the organisation began to surface on local newspapers at the same time as I joined. Knocking on doors and seeking community partnerships became an uphill climb and subsequent spotlight shone on the BMDP made my journey here an arduous one. But the team and I knew all too well the price our beneficiaries – patients needing a lifesaving bone marrow transplant, has to pay if we were to give in to the situation.
On top of that, a BMDP research later found out that our Indian brothers and sisters, among the different racial groups in Singapore, have the least chance to find a matching donor from the BMDP register if they fall sick and need a lifesaving bone marrow transplant. Thus, reaching out to the various Indian communities to help alleviate the plight of the Indian patients in Singapore became my upmost priority.
Though faced with many rejections and closed doors initially, things took a turn for the better earlier this year as numerous individuals and enthusiastic groups offered opportunities to partner and support the BMDP in recruiting more volunteer bone marrow donors at various community events as well as activities.
Momentum began to pick up but the battle against blood diseases is far from over and as long as there’s demand for bone marrow donors to save the lives of patients stuck with blood diseases, we will always be gearing ourselves up to fulfill our promise – a donor for every patient.
Different people have different ways of deriving job satisfaction and for myself, seeing people come forward to join BMDP as volunteer donors and committing themselves to a lifesaving cause, because of my efforts, will be what I consider as my greatest fulfillment!