Tag Archives: Cheek Swab Month


Going for Gold…Meet Team BMDP!

From left: Izrin, Josephine, Jane, May, Joei, Christine

On the Olympic theme – I am really proud to introduce Team BMDP. We haven’t made headlines in the bodybuilding and definitely didn’t conquer the 1,000 metres or the show-jumping – but every single day, this is the team that pushes aside all possible hurdles that stand between our patients and getting that life-saving match.

It has been just a few months that we have all been working together; Izrin and Joei who work with the hospitals in Transplant Services, Josephine and Christine who keep our books and world in administrative order and May who leads our outreach into the community to recruit more donors.

As we go into August, Team BMDP has already delivered bone marrow or stem cells to more than 34 patients here in Singapore since the start of the year. Measured in parents and siblings, colleagues and playmates that is a lot of people in 34 personal communities who can celebrate being given a life-saving chance through Team BMDP finding a matching donor from our local register here in Singapore or from almost anywhere in the world.

Finding a match is just like winning the race and a cause for celebration – but the real heroes are our donors. So far this year we are half way to reaching our target of registering 5,000 new donors and with Cheek Swab Month just around the corner – that’s another race we are definitely planning to win!


Saving lives with Cheek Swab Month

“You have the power to save a life!”

Today, corporate organisations and community groups came together to launch ‘Cheek Swab Month’ – a month-long campaign to be held in October 2012 to raise awareness of bone marrow donation and to drive recruitment of volunteer bone marrow donors within their respective organisations.

The campaign grew from the concept of ‘Cheek Swab Day’ – a one-day campaign where many organisations in Singapore came together to promote awareness and recruit donors within their organisations. The brainchild of Terence Quek, CEO of Emergenetics International- Asia, the idea was fully supported by Young NTUC and The Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) – both lending their resources to realise ‘Cheek Swab Day’ on 16 May held at NTUC Centre.

Terence Quek making his pledge
Terence Quek pledges his commitment to Cheek Swab Month

“I was first inspired by the story of an American-born Chinese woman (Ms Janet Liang) suffering from acute leukemia and how her friends rallied to help her find a matching bone marrow donor through roadshows and social media (www.helpingjanet.com). Then I discovered we have local patients in exactly the same position and so wanted to rally Singaporeans to come forward to help Singaporeans and others suffering from blood-related diseases like Janet. Everyone has the power to save someone’s life just by donating our bone marrow and it’s such a simple gesture,” – Terence Quek

With the full support from Young NTUC, HP Singapore, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Emergenetics International – Asia, Right Impact Training, Nails and Brows, Petmart, South West Community Development Council, People’s Association Youth Movement (PAYM) and Project Happy Feet,  we look forward to a successful Cheek Swab Month in October!

Hear what Jane has to say about the launch of Cheek Swab Month

Find out how the origin of Cheek Swab Month came about


Miracles! Some business to be in….

I always say that we’re in the “business of miracles” because every single day we work with transplant teams in Singapore and from around the world to help them find a matching bone marrow donor for their patients. And I honestly believe it is a miracle when one individual makes the supreme act of commitment and comes forward to save the life of a total stranger – so when people ask, I’m in the business of miracles because what I do every day, saves lives.

For me it’s a very personal mission and with world-class medical treatment here in Singapore, not being able to find a matching donor is like being hungry looking through the supermarket window. The chance of a cure is so close – our transplant teams and hospitals are truly world-class – but all the medical breakthroughs in the world won’t help if  we cannot identify that one individual who matches the patient.

Equally, it’s thrilling to meet different people every day who have heard about us and in whatever way they can want to help us in our mission. Most recently help from one individual has pulled together a one day event in May and launched a national one month programme – Cheek Swab Month – planned for October.


Not sure that we should describe him as a “miracle” but definitely a step in the right direction.