Tag Archives: commitment

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An ikan bilis for a Carousel dinner

Noor Hanisah in action
Noor Hanisah sharing about signing up to be a bone marrow at a donor drive at National University of Singapore (NUS).

Imagine the price of a hotel buffet spread for just the price of an ikan bilis? Not even a nasi lemak.  Just an ikan bilis.  Wouldn’t you be making your reservation? Two years ago, I first came across a Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) drive in my school. After reading and listening to the presentation, I did the two-minute cheek swab. This put me on a waiting list — one that is searched by doctors around the world and when a patient’s bone marrow matches mine, I get to give as little as an ikan bilis to help fulfil their last option to survive. Yet, the patient gets the buffet of life — a chance to complete their degree, get married, see their children grow up. On my side, all I had to sacrifice was a few days, experience some minor inconvenience, and some discomfort, an ikan bilis when measured in a total lifetime.

Back at the drive, I was surprised to hear that there aren’t many Malay donors on the register. My heart aches remembering the pakcik (uncles) and makcik (aunts) patients. A bone marrow match is usually within the same ethnic group, and if the odds are 1 in 20 000, with less than 5,000 Malays on the register, my community have an even lower chance of finding a match.

We, Malays, take pride knowing our large extended families, right down to our tiga pupu (third cousin). What if one, if not some, of them was a waiting patient? Do my brothers and sisters in Islam know the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) fatwa allows bone marrow donation? As I advance towards a healthcare career, I hold an excerpt from the Quran close to my heart:

“If anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.” (Quran 32:5)

I would love “to save all of mankind” with just this tiny bit of my bone marrow. A medical procedure that can be done in a single day, with hardly any risk or side effects. A good feeling in the heart is better than a satisfied stomach; and definitely better than an ikan bilis for a Carousel dinner.

– by Noor Hanisah Binte Noordin, a Singaporean Malay third-year aspiring pharmacist at the National University of Singapore

Up close and personal with two of our transplant patients, Bryan (Centre) and Brendon

Reflecting on our 20 year mission

Up close and personal with two of our transplant patients, Bryan (Centre) and Brendon
Up close and personal with two of our transplant patients, Bryan (Centre) and Brendon

Many bone marrow donor registers around the world were established as the result of tragedy and likewise the BMDP which was set up after a Singaporean family lost a beloved son to leukaemia.

No matching bone marrow donor could be found for this one small boy and together with a group of doctors, the family made a commitment that no Singaporean should die without having at least the chance of a cure through a bone marrow transplant. That remains fundamental to our mission today.

A transplant offers a cure for many blood-related diseases including leukaemia, still the most common cancer and too many of us know people whose lives have been devastated by it. Yet we still cling to the belief that bad things happen to others so by the time we get the wake-up call, it’s too late to act.

We have shared a story of another Singaporean family whose lives were impacted twice as father and then the youngest son were diagnosed with a blood disease. They tell of a stark reality that we lose control and instead have to depend upon the generosity of strangers – unique individuals who did chose to act, signing up to donate blood and also life-saving bone marrow should they be a match for someone in the future.

In celebration of our 20 years, the BMDP has committed to recruit 20,000 donors onto the register in the next three years – but we cannot do it alone. Help us achieve this by spreading the word, ask your friends to sign up and please make a financial donation to help us pay for tissue typing our new donors. Both actions are just one click away.

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Awesome news!

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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!

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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

Saad Chinoy during a recent video interview session to kick-off the Match for Life launch event.

Couldn’t save his own brother, signed up to save someone else’s

Saad Chinoy during a recent video interview session to kick-off the Match for Life launch event.
Saad Chinoy during a recent video interview session to kick-off the Match for Life launch event.

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?

Bryan together with his donor, Shi Hong, and brother, Brendon, who also got a bone marrow transplant in July 2007.

Four years ago a total stranger stepped forward to save a small boy

Bryan together with his donor, Shi Hong, and brother, Brendon, who also got a bone marrow transplant in July 2007.
Bryan (left) together with his donor, Shi Hong, and brother, Brendon, who also had a bone marrow transplant in July 2007.

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!

Adrian Mah, Director, TAB Singapore

We ALL have the power to save a life – we just don’t know it!

Adrian Mah, Director, TAB Singapore
Adrian Mah, Director, TAB Singapore

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!

Adrian Mah
Director, TAB Singapore

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It’s “Match for Life”

MFL_LowRes_LogoOur 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.