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!
“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
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?
Our 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.
There’s an unproven theory that everyone on the planet is only six steps away – by way of introduction – from anyone else on earth and in Singapore, our world seems to be even smaller. How many times when you meet a total stranger do you find an immediate connection – work, school, church group or sports club – and so the tangled – and wonderful – web of relationships is woven.
So let’s consider the BMDP. With one of our courier team flying in from an overseas collection today, we have delivered stem cells or Bone Marrow to a total of 36 patients. Measured in family members, loved ones, playmates and colleagues who are all impacted by the devastating news when leukaemia or a similar blood disease strikes, the BMDP has directly impacted a huge number of people. I would like to believe that we are separated by just three degrees from all of Singapore’s 5 million population; but however you measure it, our work brings a chance of survival, hope and belief for the future – and that is the goal that drives us.
So while it is nearly September and for many of our friends out there, 2013 plans are already underway, there is still time for you to help us keep making this life-saving difference. We have our October plans to reach at least 30 companies during the month and recruit more donors – so if you think your colleagues would like to find out more, then please give us a call and let’s arrange a donor drive in your company. Then of course, you can continue to help us by funding our work through a donation and that’s just a click away on the online portal.
On the Olympic theme – I am really proud to introduce Team BMDP. We haven’t made headlines in the bodybuilding and definitely didn’t conquer the 1,000 metres or the show-jumping – but every single day, this is the team that pushes aside all possible hurdles that stand between our patients and getting that life-saving match.
It has been just a few months that we have all been working together; Izrin and Joei who work with the hospitals in Transplant Services, Josephine and Christine who keep our books and world in administrative order and May who leads our outreach into the community to recruit more donors.
As we go into August, Team BMDP has already delivered bone marrow or stem cells to more than 34 patients here in Singapore since the start of the year. Measured in parents and siblings, colleagues and playmates that is a lot of people in 34 personal communities who can celebrate being given a life-saving chance through Team BMDP finding a matching donor from our local register here in Singapore or from almost anywhere in the world.
Finding a match is just like winning the race and a cause for celebration – but the real heroes are our donors. So far this year we are half way to reaching our target of registering 5,000 new donors and with Cheek Swab Month just around the corner – that’s another race we are definitely planning to win!