Blood disease does not differentiate between culture, race, language or religion. While the disease does not discriminate, the solution in finding a matching donor does. A vast majority of successful bone marrow transplants require donors and patients to be of the same ethnic group due to the similarity in their genetic makeup. With a pool of just 7,000 Malay and Indian donors found on the local register, the chances of finding the 1 in 20,000 match are much slimmer. We thus urge more members from the Indian, Malay and mixed ethnic backgrounds to step up and join the register. You could save a life!
Hard to imagine the year is almost over; all the usual highlights and challenges and now it’s time to look forward to what next year will bring.
42 families in Singapore will remember 2012 as the time they grappled with the stark reality that a bone marrow transplant would be the only avenue to survival and fortunately we found a matching donor for each of them. So, as we go into the New Year, here’s wishing all our patients – young and grown up – a successful and speedy recovery.
And all this wouldn’t happen without our fabulous donors and 5,000 very different individuals all signed up to the cause – united by a promise that they could possibly save a life. So if you signed up as a hero in 2012, then please help us and share our mission over a glass of wine, or a Christmas meal somewhere – because the more people who know about it, then the more friends and supporters we have.
Here’s to 2013 – health and happiness for each of you – and another 7,000 new donors signed up to save a life!
Thank you to everyone who has worked with us over the past months – signing up, organising donor drives and sharing the BMDP mission with friends and colleagues that everyone has “the power to save a life”.
With your support we reached our 2012 target TODAY with 5,000 new donors all signed up to the BMDP register bringing us several steps closer to delivering on our promise to find a donor for every patient.
Aven Lim, Business Analyst from Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals was our 5,000th donor for the year – and he got first-hand congratulations from another new donor, Marcus Yim, MD of Bayer South ASEAN.
Many thanks to Bayer for hosting today’s event and also for generously sponsoring the cost of tissue typing each of your staff who signed up. Also, thank you again to all our other partners who have supported the Match For Life campaign over recent months; from the universities and polytechnics, the global and local partners – none if this would have been possible without your belief, encouragement and buy-in to our cause.
CONGRATULATIONS to all our Match For Life team and our extended family of BMDP donors. Roll on 2013 – another target and more lives to save.
– Jane Prior
“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.
Written by Francis
The Bone 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.
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!
What an amazing week here at the BMDP and the highlight was filming some of our patients and donors for a new video to talk more about what we do. I honestly wish that you could have all been there to put our work into perspective and really understand how we save lives.
We met one young mother of two who was facing up to a transplant-or-else diagnosis exactly one year ago and she came to us with a bloom in her cheek and spring in her step. Having reached that critical 12 month milestone we were even able to introduce her bone marrow donor – and measuring all the things we do, it doesn’t get much better than that. Needless to say, they had a world to share while the rest of us all shared a few tears with the sheer wonder if it all.
Then another mum, Roseline, whose two boys both needed to have a transplant and after some tough financial and medical struggles, they all looked fantastic – and in Roseline we have a fierce campaigner for our cause.
Plus of course several of our BMDP donors joined in – each unique but all excited to share their stories as to why they signed up and what it meant to have this opportunity to save a life. Would you do it again we asked? Yes – absolutely!
Watch out for the video which we’re launching at our Match For Life month starting October 1st and meet our heroes plus some of the very special people we have helped. As I said, it doesn’t get much better than that and even as I write we have patients awaiting transplant, others still seeking donors – and in all of this, everyone can play a part.
Good food, great music and a worthy cause!
TAB is celebrating their 2nd Anniversary and we are the appointed charity of their choice. YOU are invited to party the night away with us while supporting our cause in finding new donors for patients. We will be there to sell BMDP merchandise, raise funds and swab cheeks!
There will be a line-up of six awesome bands for the concert:
> Brandon Lee
> Inch Chua
> The Sam Willows
> Newton Circus
> No. IV
See YOU there!
For more information, please click here.