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.
As the saying goes, “for many are called, but few are chosen”. In 1993, Martin Thoo, a young junior college student, took up the call to action and signed up with the BMDP as a volunteer bone marrow donor. “It just seemed like the right thing to do,” explained Martin. How many of us can put our hands up and say yes, we did our part for society at age 17 or 18 and will give willingly when the time comes?
Several years later, a grown-up Martin kept his promise and gave the ultimate gift anyone can give – a gift of life. Looking back, Martin never once hesitated in donating his bone marrow; and he will do the same if called upon today. “We must never take for granted that someone else will respond to the call; every step no matter how small, must begin with us,” said Martin.
“Seeing the BMDP progress every year and that my contribution has made a difference drives me to give my all. Being the Honorary General Secretary may sound mundane, but I enjoy it!” exclaimed Martin.
Viewing his commitment to the BMDP more as a calling instead of a responsibility is a telling factor of this man’s mission – touching lives. The BMDP is in urgent need of donors and funding – the lifeblood of patients at the various transplant hospitals in Singapore.
Martin concludes, “I hope that the BMDP will one day become the donor register hub of the region; to give hope to those who have none”.
TheBone Marrow Donor Programme has been selected as the charity partner for Elite Model Look when the world’s leading model search event conducts an island-wide search for Singapore’s new “face”.
With a line-up of 6 events happening over the next five weeks, “Match For Life” (the donor recruitment organisation within the BMDP) will connect with hundreds of young people providing them with a chance to sign up as a volunteer bone marrow donor.
According to BMDP President, Jane Prior, “modeling and bone marrow transplants seem to be worlds apart, but we are both working against very similar odds. Elite Model Look will select just 15 finalists out of a global line-up of 350,000 entrants – while the chances of being a match for a patient are around 1 in 20,000.00. While we can’t offer fame and fortune, our donors sign up for a chance to win the greatest prize of all – to save another person’s life.”
Match For Life will be on-site at all the Elite Model Look Singapore events and while waiting to audition, aspiring models will have an opportunity to learn more about the life-saving work of the BMDP and to sign up as a “Match for Life” and become a volunteer bone marrow donor. There is strong medical evidence to support younger donors being more effective and most importantly they are available through the BMDP register for longer as the cut-off age is currently age 60.
According to the Singapore Director of Elite Model Look, Eric Ceret, “this is a first time that Elite Model Look has tied up with a non-profit organization anywhere in Asia and I am excited that we have found great synergy between ourselves and Match For Life. The world of the Supermodel must go beyond the superficial and I am proud that leading Elite models, including Gisele Bundchen and Cindy Crawford, are very well known for their charity work. This partnership is a statement that with success comes responsibility”.
Match For Life targets to recruit 3,000 new donors onto the BMDP Register throughout October in order to increase the chances of finding that life-saving donor for every patient who needs a transplant. A volunteer donor needs to provide a small tissue sample – usually a swab from inside the cheek – that is sent for tissue typing to then add the details to the BMDP register. Only if and when identified as a match in the future for a patient does the donor actually have to donate their bone marrow but with the odds of finding a match being 1 in 20,000, each new name that is added is potentially another life saved. In Singapore every day 6 people are diagnosed with one of the potentially fatal blood diseases where the only chance of survival may be a successful bone marrow transplant.
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!
Our October campaign has a new name – Match for Life – which we feel is a better representation of the work that we do and the vital role that all of our volunteer donors play when they are a “match” and they can actually save a “life”.
Watch out for more details on the BMDP’s inaugural 30 day campaign as we reach out to as many companies and organisations throughout October to tell their staff what it takes to be a bone marrow donor. Just a few moments to learn about our work and sign up and a commitment for the future, that they will make that life-saving donation of bone marrow or stem cells to save the life of someone, somewhere; should they be that “Match for Life”…
And with 6 people every day diagnosed with a blood disease here in Singapore, that “someone” could be much closer than you think.
There’s an unproven theory that everyone on the planet is only six steps away – by way of introduction – from anyone else on earth and in Singapore, our world seems to be even smaller. How many times when you meet a total stranger do you find an immediate connection – work, school, church group or sports club – and so the tangled – and wonderful – web of relationships is woven.
So let’s consider the BMDP. With one of our courier team flying in from an overseas collection today, we have delivered stem cells or Bone Marrow to a total of 36 patients. Measured in family members, loved ones, playmates and colleagues who are all impacted by the devastating news when leukaemia or a similar blood disease strikes, the BMDP has directly impacted a huge number of people. I would like to believe that we are separated by just three degrees from all of Singapore’s 5 million population; but however you measure it, our work brings a chance of survival, hope and belief for the future – and that is the goal that drives us.
So while it is nearly September and for many of our friends out there, 2013 plans are already underway, there is still time for you to help us keep making this life-saving difference. We have our October plans to reach at least 30 companies during the month and recruit more donors – so if you think your colleagues would like to find out more, then please give us a call and let’s arrange a donor drive in your company. Then of course, you can continue to help us by funding our work through a donation and that’s just a click away on the online portal.
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