By the time you read this, Trek Dreams would already be on their way to the famous Tengboche Monastery (3,867m), nestled against the backdrop of Himalaya’s finest peaks. The monastery was destroyed twice but it still stands today – thanks to the help of volunteers from all over the world.
The BMDP too cannot stand alone. We need the help of everyone to chip-in and do their part. Trek Dreams is certainly doing us proud – every step they take, is a step closer to making a difference for every single patient in Singapore. Support them by donating here today!
Live your dreams – tell us about it and how we can work together. You bring the idea, we’ll lend our support.
Donating bone marrow or blood? Crossed my mind once during National Service when it meant getting the rest of the day off. Since then, I’ve never thought about it again.
Fast forward 17 years and pursuing my dreams halfway across the world, donating my bone marrow couldn’t be further from my mind but the world changed for our family in October 2012. Back in Singapore, Dad was diagnosed with a low platelet count, his lymphoma having re-emerged after a 27-year remission and he urgently needed a transfusion. By the time he passed away in January 2013, he had at least 10 platelet and blood transfusions, thanks to anonymous donors.
Fate dealt another brutal blow that month when my youngest brother, William was diagnosed with leukaemia just two weeks before Dad passed away. It seemed so unfair and not supposed to happen to someone so young! William’s only 24 and starting his life.
We had spent the previous months shuttling between Singapore and the United States to visit our parents and now one of us needed help, and urgently. Mum stayed in Singapore to care for Dad and Marvin and I flew to Los Angeles where William was in good spirits but needed several blood transfusions because of his low red blood cell count.
Dad and William benefited from the generosity of total strangers who had voluntarily donated blood and platelets and we were uncomfortably aware that we’d never done anything like that. Medicine can be manufactured, but blood, platelets and bone marrow can only be donated by healthy individuals who volunteer out of kindness. William is in remission now after a month of chemotherapy, but he still needs a bone marrow transplant if he’s to win his battle against leukaemia.
The last few months forced us to take a long hard look at our priorities and we realise that the kindness of strangers is what brings hope to humanity and our shared fate shows how everyone has a part to play.
Marvin and I have since signed up to be bone marrow donors and we intend to be regular blood donors. Countless families have been granted more time together due to the selflessness of these unsung heroes and we hope that telling our story and spreading the message through friends and family will be able to move a few hearts and minds to support a worthy cause.
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
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