Tag Archives: patients

A year after her life-saving bone marrow transplant, Narita gets to spend some time getting to know her donor.

Born again through the kindness of a stranger

Jeth and Narita

 

Born again through the kindness of a stranger

In an emotional meeting, a young woman struck down by leukaemia told the stranger who saved her life that words cannot express the extent of her gratitude.

 

From graduation to devastation

At the Bone Marrow Donor Programme office, Narita met her donor Jeth Ng for the first time since the lifesaving transplant of his donated stem cells in April 2014. Just three months before the transplant, Narita had come down with what she thought was flu while completing her final college project.

Still unwell 3 weeks later, a series of tests showed that Narita had an aggressive form of leukaemia and her only hope was to have a bone marrow transplant.

Now 24 years old, Narita shared how terrified she was after her diagnosis. She was lying in a hospital bed hoping to survive when all she really wanted was to go away on the holiday she had planned with a group of friends to celebrate their graduation. Despite that, she was most hopeful on the day of her stem cell transplant – feeling that she was reborn, and had a fighting chance – all thanks to a stranger’s bravery and selflessness.
Continue reading Born again through the kindness of a stranger

Dr Yvonne Loh (formerly the Medical Director of the Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant programme in SGH) depends on the BMDP to deliver matching donors for her patients from around the region.

Running a Marrow-thon for transplants

INTRODUCING SINGAPORE'S NEWEST TRANSPLANT FACILITY at Gleneagles Hospital!
INTRODUCING SINGAPORE’S NEWEST TRANSPLANT FACILITY at Gleneagles Hospital!

Dr Yvonne Loh, a leading transplant physician [Haematologist and Medical Director of the Asian Centre for Blood & Bone Marrow Transplantation (ACBBMT) at Gleneagles Hospital] and dedicated board member at the BMDP, gives her take on bone marrow transplants (BMT) in Singapore.

Over the last five to 10 years, bone marrow transplants have increasingly been offered to older patients as reduced intensity regimens are preferred. With transplant doctors at the various transplant centres gaining more experience, the confidence to offer transplants to patients increases. Coupled with a growing and aging population, this contributes to more cases of blood cancers and other conditions that might potentially benefit from BMTs.

It is these burgeoning issues that make the BMDP’s work extremely relevant in today’s context. As a committee member at the BMDP, Dr Loh has first-hand knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes during a donor search and how she can contribute to its swift success. Likewise, on an executive level, participating in decision-making exercises enables her to play a crucial role in enhancing the BMDP’s daily life-saving processes.

Not one to mince her words, Dr Loh feels that the understanding and awareness of BMT is limited, even among medical practitioners in Singapore. “This may lead to late referrals for treatment in patients that might need a BMT and compromise the chance of a cure”, explained Dr Loh. With Singapore being the medical hub of the region, the BMDP shares in the responsibility of upholding this mantle by growing and maintaining the only local register of bone marrow donors as well as raising awareness for the cause.

Outside of work, Dr Loh is ever-passionate to combine her hobbies with meaningful events in the pursuit of making a difference in the lives of others. She is an avid marathoner who raises money for worthy causes such as the BMDP and consistently ranks among the top 10-20% of women participants at most 21/42km races.

“Other than running marathons, I decided to pick up cycling late last year and completed my first bike race – the OCBC Cycle Singapore 2013 to raise awareness and funds for needy transplant patients”, concluded Dr Loh. Now, who wouldn’t want a fighter in their corner – a doctor who pushes the envelope for her patients!

Dr Yvonne Loh (formerly the Medical Director of the Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant programme in SGH) depends on the BMDP to deliver matching donors for her patients from around the region.
Dr Yvonne Loh (formerly the Medical Director of the Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant programme in SGH) depends on the BMDP to deliver matching donors for her patients from around the region.
From left: Poon Wen Jie, Lee Jia Ling, Liong Kek Yee, Neo Bing Hui, Leong Mang Yew, Ng Yong Tian Adeline

Six Heroes, One Mission

From left: Poon Wen Jie, Lee Jia Ling, Liong Kek Yee, Neo Bing Hui, Leong Mang Yew, Ng Yong Tian Adeline From left: Poon Wen Jie, Lee Jia Ling, Liong Kek Yee, Neo Bing Hui, Leong Mang Yew, Ng Yong Tian Adeline

A group of six adventure-seekers are on more than a mission of discovery when they leave for Mt Everest tomorrow morning – they are all united to raise awareness and drive more people to sign up as bone marrow donors.

This once-in-a-lifetime trip was set up in memory of a mutual friend who lost the battle with leukaemia and they all felt this was one way they could pay tribute and at the same time bring hope to other patients in the future.

Follow their adventures through their blog as they climb to the Base Camp of the world’s highest peak and you can support them through making a donation.

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1 millionth blood stem cell transplant marks major medical milestone

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Through a global collaboration between transplant centres, bone marrow donor registers, researchers and physicians, the 1 millionth blood stem cell transplant was completed in late December 2012. For many patients battling critical blood diseases which include the most common forms of cancer, leukaemia and lymphoma, a blood stem cell or bone marrow transplant is now a proven and essential therapy.

The global statistics were gathered through the Worldwide Network for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (WMBT) and today, more than 70 malignant and non-malignant diseases are treated routinely with blood stem cell transplantation, providing new cures for patients around the globe. The procedure technique itself has improved considerably and for patients with optimal conditions, disease-free survival rates are now reaching more than 90 percent.

“Worldwide, more than 50,000 patients a year are receiving transplants, in regions ranging from the Asia-Pacific to the Mid-East to Central America,” said Dennis Confer, M.D., treasurer of the WBMT and chief medical officer of the U.S.-based National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP). “The curative potential of this therapy will only increase, thanks to the commitment and collaboration of researchers and physicians across the globe.”

In Singapore, the Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) operates the only donor register and provides a vital service to the local hospitals to identify a matching donor for their patients. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the BMDP has over 55,000 fully tissue typed donors registered on the local database and has facilitated transplants for close to 500 patients being treated in Singapore.

According to Jane Prior, President of the BMDP, “in Singapore, 6 people are diagnosed every day with a potentially fatal blood disease and a Bone Marrow or Blood Stem Cell transplant can offer a possible cure but they must first have a matching and willing donor. The first option is a sibling match but failing that, doctors turn to the BMDP and our promise is to find a matching donor for every patient who needs a transplant”.

The BMDP is a Singapore registered charity responsible for building and managing Singapore’s only register of volunteer donors who are willing to donate their bone marrow to save the lives of patients who need a transplant to survive. The BMDP also provides a 365-day service to the hospitals to search the local and global donor registers to find a matching donor for their patients.

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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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From the left: Jane Prior, BMDP President, Aven Lim, Business Analyst at Bayer HealthCare and our 5,000th donor, Marcus Yim, MD of Bayer South ASEAN, May Goh, BMDP Donor Recruitment Manager, and Lim Lu Choon, Communications Manager at Bayer South ASEAN.

ON TARGET – 5,000 donors recruited for the year!

From the left: Jane Prior, BMDP President, Aven Lim, Business Analyst at Bayer HealthCare and our 5,000th donor, Marcus Yim, MD of Bayer South ASEAN, May Goh, BMDP Donor Recruitment Manager, and Lim Lu Choon, Communications Manager at Bayer South ASEAN.
From the left: Jane Prior, Aven Lim our 5,000th donor, Marcus Yim, May Goh, and Lim Lu Choon.

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

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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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Putting ourselves about…

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The past weeks have been absolutely hectic – donor drives happening in companies and carnivals, schools and government departments from the city centre to Jurong Island! Our logo has strutted on the catwalk with Elite Model Look and now our team of Marathon Men and Women are pounding the pavements to raise funds and awareness.

Our very own crazy man, Ah Siao is on a mission to drag a tyre throughout the full 42  kilometres of the Singapore Marathon. In his words, a tribute to our patients who have to struggle every day – for months sometimes – managing their treatment and waiting for the good news that we have found them a match.

And all this noise and effort  have delivered some significant success. Thanks to all our various partners, we recruited 1338 new donors during “Match for Life” in October  bringing the year-to-date total up to 4089 putting us in sight of our annual target of 5,000. So, if you have friends or colleagues who want to become a bone marrow donor, then get them to Sign Up for a postal kit and we’ll do the rest.

Meanwhile, we need your help to share our work with people you know by ‘liking’ us on Facebook to stay in touch with all the things we are doing. After all, the BMDP is one huge family united by a single mission to save lives – but like Ah Siao, there are lots of us doing crazy things out there so let us know what’s happening in your world and we’ll share it with the rest of the gang… make more noise, save more lives.

Jane Prior

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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