Tag Archives: BMDP

Izrin_Lowres

BMDP sets up “Donor Centre” operation

Izrin_Lowres
Izrin Al-Edrus, Donor Coordinator

“Please don’t be worried – it’s really just a little inconvenience”, urges Izrin Al-Edrus as he explains to different people from all walks of life how their actions today can actually save someone’s life.

As the donor register expands, more potential matches are being identified from our Singapore database. To support this activity, the BMDP has appointed Izrin to lead a new “Donor Centre” operation. This means that all new donor sign-ups, and those individuals who are identified as a match, have a dedicated Account Manager to work with and answer any specific enquiries they may have; and the usual concern is about what will actually happen during a donor “harvest”.

According to Izrin, “we have more BMDP donors undergoing Verification Typing today than at any other time and this is the credit to the amazing growth we have in the size of the register. Unfortunately, we still have a significant challenge that individuals are often not willing to carry through and make that life-saving donation when the time actually comes”.

The Donor Centre will also implement a buddy system where new donors can meet up and share their experiences with others who have already undergone a bone marrow stem cell harvest. Designed to provide support in overcoming any initial concerns, they can hear first-hand how this life-saving act was a defining moment for each of them and apart from some minor inconvenience; the experience has been a tremendously positive experience in their personal lives.

“It is an amazing experience to be able to find matching donors and to provide them with all the information they need to make that life-saving decision”, concluded Izrin.

From the left: Jane Prior, BMDP President, Aven Lim, Business Analyst at Bayer HealthCare and our 5,000th donor, Marcus Yim, MD of Bayer South ASEAN, May Goh, BMDP Donor Recruitment Manager, and Lim Lu Choon, Communications Manager at Bayer South ASEAN.

ON TARGET – 5,000 donors recruited for the year!

From the left: Jane Prior, BMDP President, Aven Lim, Business Analyst at Bayer HealthCare and our 5,000th donor, Marcus Yim, MD of Bayer South ASEAN, May Goh, BMDP Donor Recruitment Manager, and Lim Lu Choon, Communications Manager at Bayer South ASEAN.
From the left: Jane Prior, Aven Lim our 5,000th donor, Marcus Yim, May Goh, and Lim Lu Choon.

Thank you to everyone who has worked with us over the past months – signing up, organising donor drives and sharing the BMDP mission with friends and colleagues that everyone has “the power to save a life”.

With your support we reached our 2012 target TODAY with 5,000 new donors all signed up to the BMDP register bringing us several steps closer to delivering on our promise to find a donor for every patient.

Aven Lim, Business Analyst from Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals was our 5,000th donor for the year – and he got first-hand congratulations from another new donor, Marcus Yim, MD of Bayer South ASEAN.

Many thanks to Bayer for hosting today’s event and also for generously sponsoring the cost of tissue typing each of your staff who signed up. Also, thank you again to all our other partners who have supported the Match For Life campaign over recent months; from the universities and polytechnics, the global and local partners – none if this would have been possible without your belief, encouragement and buy-in to our cause.

CONGRATULATIONS to all our Match For Life team and our extended family of BMDP donors. Roll on 2013 – another target and more lives to save.

– Jane Prior

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Awesome news!

NECDC_CoverPhoto

Good morning friends!

It’s been really exciting here at BMDP as we have received amazing news!!! As our dear running team trains hard for the marathon, we are glad to announce that North East CDC will be matching every donation DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR! So every donation you make here will now be doubled.

We truly hope that this opportunity will allow us to raise as much funds as we can to pay for tissue typing. This year, we are confident that we will reach our target of 5,000 donors, that means we will need to raise $750,000 – it costs $150 to tissue type each donor.

CLICK HERE NOW and donate generously, because it will be doubled! Your money is going to work harder!

p.s. All funds raised by the five runners will be matched dollar-for-dollar – huge thanks to North East CDC once again!

Meanwhile, here are our dear runners:

1. Ah Siao – Gerrard Lin (read our previous blogpost about him here)

You should have seen him in the news. If you haven't, here's news for you. Gerrard will be dragging a 14kg tire throughout the Full Marathon!
You should have seen him in the news. If you haven’t, here’s news for you. Gerrard will be dragging a 14kg tire throughout the Full Marathon!

2. Dr Yvonne Loh – Transplant Doctor (read our previous blogpost about her here)

Dr Yvonne Loh works on the front line in the fight against the most common forms of blood disease including leukaemia  and lymphoma as a Consultant Haematologist and Medical Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Program at Singapore General Hospital.
Dr Yvonne Loh works on the front line in the fight against the most common forms of blood disease including leukaemia and lymphoma as a Consultant Haematologist and Medical Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Program at Singapore General Hospital.

3. Laura (click here to donate!)

Laura will be running her first half marathon this year, please show her your support!
Laura will be running her first half marathon this year, please show her your support!

4. Declan & Anne (read their story and donate here!)

Declan & Anne will be running together in support of BMDP!
Declan & Anne will be running together in support of BMDP!

5.Vivien Teo (read more about her story here)

Vivien is a bone marrow transplant nurse, and will be running in the half marathon in support of BMDP!

Gerti

Seven years and counting…

Gerti

What is the BMDP Charity Gala without Gerti Iwatake? Ever-ready to give her all, Gerti is a mix of blond glamour, German industry and most definitely Singaporean by friendships and association.

After organising three highly-successful galas for the BMDP, Gerti is now raring to go for the next one on March 23, 2013 at the Fullerton Hotel which targets to raise half a million dollars to go towards the tissue-typing of new bone marrow donors. As the chairperson of the Charity Gala organising committee, Gerti leads her team of like-minded heroes to give patients a better chance of survival through fund-raising for the BMDP.

“My committee members and I believe deeply in this local cause with its huge global impact. The challenge is to be successful year after year – to raise more funds and keep expanding the donor register,” said Gerti. Apart from her team’s support, Gerti reserves special praise for her daughter and husband – her pillars of comfort and encouragement. “They are happy that I can make a difference in the lives of others and I am grateful for their love and patience,” shares Gerti.

Gerti enjoys her work with the BMDP and that is evident from her standing in the local philanthropy and high society scene as well as the people she interacts with. “Nobody can fail to notice Gerti for the amazing energy and commitment she brings to the cause” said BMDP President, Jane Prior, “she’s our very own angel”.

Born in Germany, BMDP’s wunderwoman comes from a charity-oriented family and is an only child of a volunteer at the Red Cross, trained as a nurse. Looking back, she figures that must have rubbed off on her to do good for others. Gerti has come a long way since her childhood days and the well-dressed persona in public is definitely not afraid to roll up her sleeves and work long hours for charity. This work ethic she brings to the BMDP inspires those around her to give their all for the cause.

“The BMDP Charity Gala has become a key fixture on the local high society calendar and we are proud to be at the Fullerton Hotel next year. There will be all the ingredients of a fabulous night – entertainment, champagne, an auction and a lucky draw. Invite your friends and fill our ballroom; the more tables we sell, the more lives we can save!” exclaims Gerti. Next time you see her, be warned! Gerti is a woman on a mission.

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Meet the Incredible Doctor Yvonne Loh!

Our dear Dr Yvonne geared up, gladly representing BMDP!
Our dear Dr Yvonne geared up, gladly representing BMDP!

Every day Dr Yvonne Loh works on the front line in the fight against the most common forms of blood disease including leukaemia  and lymphoma as a Consultant Haematologist and Medical Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Program at Singapore General Hospital.

Nobody knows better than she does how a transplant can not only save a life but just the chance of survival  transforms despair into hope for patients and their families.

After hours, she’s pounding the pavements to win another battle and this time raise funds and awareness for our work at the Bone Marrow Donor Programme – and more money raised, means more lives saved.

Support the Incredible Dr Yvonne Loh and make a donation – every $150.00 donated pays for another new donor on the register. DONATE NOW!

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Drag Tyre, Run Marathon, Save Lives!!!

Our dear Ah Siao charging the streets of Raffles Place, eagerly sharing about the BMDP and our life-saving works.
Ah Siao all geared up and charging the streets of Raffles Place, eagerly sharing the BMDP’s life-saving work with the public!

“If you try, go all the way – it’s the only good fight there is…” Strong words from a man who wants to be known as Ah Siao – the runner on a very special mission at this year’s Standard Chartered Marathon.

Ah Siao’s journey began just 5 weeks ago and now he is about to make history – running his first ever marathon and dragging a tyre at the same time – all in support of the BMDP.

“The runs are really torturous and I wanted to quit after my first training session with the tyre but then I think of the patients who need a bone marrow transplant to survive and all they can do is wait for the good news that a match has been found. That makes me even more determined to not only finish the marathon but to show the world that all it takes is courage and commitment,” said Ah Siao.

With only eight weeks to prepare for a full marathon, Ah Siao is pushing the limits by training twice a day, five days a week and clocking 100km in as many days. “The pain after each run is excruciating but here’s the thing; I can rest, re-fuel and be good to go the next day; but leukaemia patients do not enjoy that luxury,” shared Ah Siao.  “It’s the same for a bone marrow donor who has to put up with minimal discomfort but through that one act, they can save another person’s life. We have options; the patients do not.”

A volunteer for four years, Ah Siao appreciates the tremendous odds that the BMDP is working against to find donors;  plus with zero government funding, it’s a marathon effort to raise the funds needed to keep growing the register.  “The tyre symbolises the hard work and endurance people need to overcome any obstacle in life,” explained Ah Siao. “However, strength and endurance isn’t enough to save a leukaemia patient – a matching bone marrow is the only cure.”

Since it started, the BMDP has found a match for close to 500 patients and recruited 50,000 donors to the local register. But with the odds of a patient finding a suitable match being a whopping one in 20,000, some patients are simply running out of time and we urgently need more donors to come forward.  Neither righteous nor noble, Ah Siao simply wants to connect with one person at a time – to forward the BMDP’s life-saving cause and in his words, “the ancestor of an action is a thought. I want to plant this idea so we can fight not just one battle, but to win the war,” concluded Ah Siao.

Donatetoday and save a life tomorrow.

Like his Facebook Page, and check him out on STOMP!

Written by Francis

From left: Rosaline, Brandon, Bryan

I nearly lost both my boys

From left: Rosaline, Brandon, Bryan
From left: Roseline, Brandon, Bryan

What do you do when you find out not one, but both your children have Hyper-IgM Syndrome – a rare genetic immunodeficiency disorder that causes frequent lung and respiratory tract infections where long-term survival is rare?

For Roseline Chin, it was nine years of a living nightmare – hospitals, emergencies, intensive care units and huge medical bills; changing her outlook on life as a mother and an  individual. “It was the darkest period of my life and several times the doctors told me to prepare for the worst,” recounted Roseline.

Bryan, 13 and Brandon, 10 both needed bone marrow transplants if they were to survive and the first stop was the cord blood bank where a match was found for Brandon but big brother Bryan wasn’t so lucky and they desperately sought help from the BMDP. Luckily a matching bone marrow donor was identified for Bryan in a few months and the future looked brighter. But, it wasn’t all going to be smooth-sailing and after numerous complications along the way, Bryan’s immune system collapsed on the 40th day after the transplant. Survival now depended upon the willingness of his donor to actually donate his bone marrow for a second time.

And it wasn’t only the boys’ health that was  in a critical condition from the severe illness, the family’s finances were in the red too. Fighting fear for the lives of her two boys, Roseline’s anguish was compounded by the dire need for funding and once again, the BMDP stepped in to help source for a benefactor to help pay the costs. “The hospital stays and medication wiped out most of my savings but thanks to the BMDP, we were able to pull through,” said Roseline.

Fast forward five years, both boys are now schooling and taking part in all the daily activities that other boys their age get up to. And after years of waiting for this moment, the boys and Roseline finally got to meet the hero who saved Bryan’s life – not once but twice. Lim Shi Hong is in his final year of studying mechanical engineering in the UK but was back in Singapore recently for the holidays and was thrilled to have a chance to meet up with the boy whose life he saved and for Roseline, he is literally a dream come true.

Roseline concludes, “Share this story with all the mothers you know and you can help more people understand what the BMDP is about. Thank you BMDP! My boys wouldn’t have made it without you!”

From top left: donor's fiancée, Reza's mother, Reza's father, donor, Reza, Reza's brother.

Calling out for a Hero!

From top left: donor's fiancée, Reza's mother, Reza's father, donor, Reza, Reza's brother.
From top left: donor’s fiancée, Reza’s mother, Reza’s father, donor, Reza, Reza’s brother.

The past one week has been amazing! 14 year old transplant recipient, Reza met the 28 year old woman who saved his life for the very first time and the real miracle is a Chinese donor being a perfect match for a young Malay patient!

It’s a “first” for us and it was a real joy to be with them while they both shared their stories amid lots of laughter like real old friends … For our Superwoman (who doesn’t want to be named) she told Reza that she was never worried about making that life-saving donation – she know somebody’s life depended upon her plus it was a safe and simple procedure – but she was very worried it might mean she couldn’t go and watch the first F1 Night Race in Singapore! For football-mad Reza, meeting Superwoman’s fiancé in a matching Arsenal t-shirt really made the match and so a new friendship begins.

Every so often people ask why do I still want to be involved in the BMDP; after all, it is exactly 16 years ago today that Daniel had his transplant and life moves on. Indeed and rarely do we talk about this in a personal context – but every search to find a donor is because another family is struggling through the worst of times and waiting for good news that we have found a potential life-saving match.

So when someone asks you about bone marrow transplants, please share what you know about the BMDP and help us with our mission. We desperately need more donors to sign up – and also you could make a donation to help pay for the tissue typing – with your help, more people will have a chance to survive and meet the hero who saved their life.

Written by Jane

Ten years after the original, the Calendar Girls all reunited for another pearly statement

Pearls and Big Ideas…

Ten years after the original, the Calendar Girls all reunited for another pearly statement
Ten years after the original, the Calendar Girls all reunited for another pearly statement.

On a rainy holiday in the Yorkshire Moors many years ago, I picked up the original “Ladies of Rylston” calendar – it was just a couple of years after Daniel’s transplant and middle aged English ladies wearing only their pearls and natural elegance to raise awareness for leukaemia definitely got my attention…. especially so in the sun-starved valleys of North Yorkshire where warmth trumps style any day of the year!

Anyway, clutching my precious find, I came home and dared suggest to the then-President of the BMDP that we should invite the ladies of the Tatler to strip for our cause – I was absolutely convinced this well-dressed and amazingly successful group of power-women would love the idea – although being Singaporeans, we’d have to trade the pearls for the bling! Anyway, long story short, I was completely out-voted by the boys of the BMDP committee who were simply horrified and it only validated their un-voiced opinion that I was a bit “odd”. Even worse, I had to fight hard to hang the calendar on my own office wall….such were the times and how they’ve changed!

Anyway, it’s fabulous news that next week Calendar Girls makes its regional debut on stage in Singapore and the BMDP will be right  there with them! We cannot promise you naked lady t-shirts – we’re even keeping our own clothes on  –  but I do recommend that you buy a ticket and come see the show. The movie was poignant, funny and most of all, has helped raise millions of dollars around the world to fight the battle against leukaemia and other blood diseases.

Hope to see you there.

– Written by Jane Prior

Tickets are available on sistic! Click here: http://tinyurl.com/9zvdsjv

BMDP President, Jane Prior presenting a certificate of appreciation to Changi Golf Club Patron, Dr Lee Boon Yang.

Thank you to the members of Changi Golf Club

BMDP President, Jane Prior presenting a certificate of appreciation to Changi Golf Club Patron, Dr Lee Boon Yang.

Every year we are invited to join the members and friends of Changi Golf Club after they finish one of their annual tournaments and most importantly, they always present the BMDP with a  very generous donation to support our work.

So, thank you once again to the Changi team for the generosity and the loyalty – and also for inviting us to dine with you and share another great night under the stars beside the most famous beach in Singapore.

Catching up with old friends from the other Changi Open 12 beneficiaries: Rainbow Centre, CARE, Sree Narayana Mission Home for the Aged Sick
Catching up with old friends from the other Changi Open 12 beneficiaries: Rainbow Centre, CARE, Sree Narayana Mission Home for the Aged Sick