Tag Archives: Donor Drive

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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

CSR BMDP 2013

Looking for CSR ideas? Match for Life is the solution.

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Do you know that one in six people in Singapore are diagnosed with leukaemia or a similar blood related disease every day?

For some of them, their only hope is to have a bone marrow transplant and that is where we come in.

As Singapore’s ONLY bone marrow donor register, we find a matching donor for these patients. But with a 1 in 20,000 chance of being a match, we need more people to sign up. This year our Match For Life team aims to recruit 7,000 new donors but we can only do this with help from companies and organisations across Singapore.

HELP US by arranging a donor drive in your office – you bring the team and we’ll do the rest!

1. Share BMDP information via the intranet and office noticeboards – we’ve got the templates to share with you.

2. Book a meeting room –  possibly arrange a lunch time talk  – we’ll bring the speakers and the videos.

3. Set up tables for donor registration – it’s just a few moments to fill out a form and a simple cheek swab – and our staff will guide everyone through the process.

And to really help us – sponsor the staff who sign up and make a tax-free donation to cover the tissue typing costs at $150.00 per person.

Taking it further.
And if your team is excited to take a step further, organise a fundraising event for us or participate in a marathon for us this year.

Choose to be a hero, be a part of Match for Life.

To confirm a date for a donor drive or if you want to know more, please contact donor@bmdp.org.

Don’t forget to like us on our Facebook page!

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The Year at a Glance!

Here’s an update at the work we have done this year – thank you so much to all who have supported us, let us strive for greater success in the year 2013! We can do it!

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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

From top left: donor's fiancée, Reza's mother, Reza's father, donor, Reza, Reza's brother.

Calling out for a Hero!

From top left: donor's fiancée, Reza's mother, Reza's father, donor, Reza, Reza's brother.
From top left: donor’s fiancée, Reza’s mother, Reza’s father, donor, Reza, Reza’s brother.

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.

Written by Jane

BMDP President, Jane Prior presenting a certificate of appreciation to Changi Golf Club Patron, Dr Lee Boon Yang.

Thank you to the members of Changi Golf Club

BMDP President, Jane Prior presenting a certificate of appreciation to Changi Golf Club Patron, Dr Lee Boon Yang.

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.

Catching up with old friends from the other Changi Open 12 beneficiaries: Rainbow Centre, CARE, Sree Narayana Mission Home for the Aged Sick
Catching up with old friends from the other Changi Open 12 beneficiaries: Rainbow Centre, CARE, Sree Narayana Mission Home for the Aged Sick
Reza standing tall, fully recovered from leukaemia thanks to the bone marrow transplant from a willing donor.

Donor saved boy’s life and kept his passion alive

Reza standing tall, fully recovered from leukaemia thanks to the bone marrow transplant from a willing donor.
Reza standing tall, fully recovered from leukaemia thanks to the bone marrow transplant from a willing donor.

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.

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!