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.
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.
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.
Imagine – soccer was Reza’s passion, and representing the school team in a tournament was his dream. However, life is unpredictable and Reza was diagnosed with leukaemia just days before Christmas.
While the world celebrated, he had to spend all the holiday season in a hospital bed and almost worse than that, his hopes of representing the school team the following year were also dashed.
For Reza, life had just come to a juddering halt and the future seemed to be an endless lineup of hospital visits, tests and loneliness – until that fighting spirit kicked in.
Reza stayed strong and with support from the rest of the family, underwent chemotherapy while all the time waiting for a suitable donor to be found. Without a bone marrow transplant, Reza’s future was just 3 years of chemotherapy and pretty bleak so it was great news when just 7 months later the BMDP found a suitable match for Reza. “Such a kind person! they don’t even know me, yet are willing to donate”, Reza expressed, “I would kneel down and bow and say thank you very very much”.
Not only did the donor save Reza’s life, but once again he has the opportunity to continue pursuing his dream. Healthy and fit, life is back to normal – soccer, friends and everything that can fit into another day of being alive.
Donating bone marrow is a minor inconvenience and discomfort – but the impact is permanent and life-changing. Be a donor, you can save a life.
When his only brother was diagnosed with leukaemia and the only chance of survival was a bone marrow transplant, the first obvious place to look for a donor was within the family.
Saad was devastated when he wasn’t a match and his brother’s life was in the balance as a search was initiated to find a volunteer donor on a register such as the BMDP. Life was tough for all the family with little to do except keep hoping that someone, somewhere will turn up as a perfect match but Saad was all too aware that there was only a 1 in 20,000 chance of finding that someone to save his brother’s life.
As Saad shared, “it was awful having to wait for good news but eventually we found two possible matches and one of them was willing to make the donation.” Today, Saad’s brother is alive and even back at work and Saad himself has registered to be a bone marrow donor because as he explains, “I may not have been a match for my brother, but I really hope that I could be a match for someone else’s!”
Why should people sign up? Because there is no greater gift or impact that you can have on another person’s life – to help them live… and why wouldn’t you?
It’s four years since Bryan’s life was saved by a total stranger and finally he got to meet his superhero.
For final year engineering student Lim Shi Hong, it was real proof that donating his bone marrow – something that just took a little time and some discomfort – had changed the world for an entire family and allowed one brave young boy to live.
Sign up as a bone marrow donor, help someone live!
A very big thank you to everyone for making our work here at BMDP a success! Here’s an update for the year 2012, take a look at what we’ve been doing to help our patients with Leukaemia and blood-related diseases.
Like most of us, I never imagined that life could ever go wrong apart from the odd business challenge thrown my way, but then a really good friend connected to say that she needed a bone marrow transplant. It was a real eye-opener and the least I could do was race down to the address she shared for the BMDP office and get myself onto the register.
I always thought it was a long drawn-out and painful process – but in reality the entire process of form-filling and getting my cheek swabbed took only a few minutes. But it didn’t end there, this is a long-term commitment to donating my bone marrow in the future if ever there is a patient who is a match to me.
Talking with the BMDP team, I found out how expensive it is to send the swab kits for the laboratory tests – tissue typing – and so beyond just signing up, I wanted to see how TAB could assist in fund-raising and creating awareness. Why? Because the BMDP is playing a crucial role in actually saving the lives of patients – just like my friend – and like me, most people simply don’t realise how little it takes to really make a difference. People need to know what it takes to become a donor and how their small act today may save somebody’s life.
There are people out there who desperately need our help to find a match and I believe if it is within our power to help, we must definitely do so. A huge thank you to our bands who are helping out in this great cause and I invite you to attend our second anniversary celebration to help us in furthering the BMDP’s cause of expanding the local register. We’re going to have a great big party with lots of local bands. So, see you guys, it’s going to be a blast!
An innocuous foray into unchartered territories brought us to the BMDP. Our newly-formed team was clueless about working with non-profit organisations – our maiden experience – and we had to come up with a marketing plan as our final year degree project.
With a compass in hand and sparing no effort on the oars, we rowed patiently to our goal – to develop the ideas and concepts to help the BMDP address its key issues and on 3rd August, our Compass-ion Communications team, anchored our boat in good stead.
It was a privilege to work with the BMDP, an organisation that has been saving lives for 20 years. Many would probably say that if you embark on an expedition and don’t know what to expect, you won’t make it. I concur with that, but that is the same situation leukaemia patients needing a bone marrow transplant face – an unknown voyage in the open sea. Where should they go to? Will they make it?
We came up with a storyboard brochure and a video around the theme of “family and friends, loss and love”. Badges and cover photos were created for the BMDP’s Facebook page to help recruit advocates, give them recognition and help spread the word. A “20,000 challenge” was also proposed with students folding hearts to take onto the streets for fund-raising and awareness building.
With these in the bag, we finally reached our destination. The judges liked our ideas – awarding us third place out of 16 teams. A small consolation for us but also a lesson in how arduous it can be to row against the current of reluctance and scepticism. We all have a fresh perspective on what it takes to save a life and it ws heart-warming to witness at first-hand the commitment the BMDP brings to helping someone out there live again.
This gift of life is in your hands; I urge you to give hope to all patients. Don’t leave them at the mercy of the sea. Hand them your oars and compass. When it comes to life and death, the relentless pursuit of saving lives can only be edged forward by you.
By: Nathaniel Lee
On behalf of Compass-ion Communications.
Compass-ion Communications is a student group from Murdoch University, SMa Institute of Higher Learning. The campaign for BMDP was done as part of MCC307 Campaign Management, a compulsory final year project for all majoring in public relations.
The Bone Marrow Donor Programme
8 Sinaran Drive #03-02 Novena Specialist Center Singapore 307470
Tel: (65) 6916 0370 Fax: (65) 6916 0371
Monday to Friday: 9.00 am – 6.00 pm Closed on Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays