Tag Archives: Transplant

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

Up close and personal with two of our transplant patients, Bryan (Centre) and Brendon

Reflecting on our 20 year mission

Up close and personal with two of our transplant patients, Bryan (Centre) and Brendon
Up close and personal with two of our transplant patients, Bryan (Centre) and Brendon

Many bone marrow donor registers around the world were established as the result of tragedy and likewise the BMDP which was set up after a Singaporean family lost a beloved son to leukaemia.

No matching bone marrow donor could be found for this one small boy and together with a group of doctors, the family made a commitment that no Singaporean should die without having at least the chance of a cure through a bone marrow transplant. That remains fundamental to our mission today.

A transplant offers a cure for many blood-related diseases including leukaemia, still the most common cancer and too many of us know people whose lives have been devastated by it. Yet we still cling to the belief that bad things happen to others so by the time we get the wake-up call, it’s too late to act.

We have shared a story of another Singaporean family whose lives were impacted twice as father and then the youngest son were diagnosed with a blood disease. They tell of a stark reality that we lose control and instead have to depend upon the generosity of strangers – unique individuals who did chose to act, signing up to donate blood and also life-saving bone marrow should they be a match for someone in the future.

In celebration of our 20 years, the BMDP has committed to recruit 20,000 donors onto the register in the next three years – but we cannot do it alone. Help us achieve this by spreading the word, ask your friends to sign up and please make a financial donation to help us pay for tissue typing our new donors. Both actions are just one click away.

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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.

Daniel Prior with BMDP Search Coordinators, Joei Zhang (left) and Lim Lay Feng

Twenty Years of Saving Lives

Daniel Prior with BMDP Search Coordinators, Joei Zhang (left) and Lim Lay Feng
Daniel Prior with BMDP Search Coordinators, Joei Zhang (left) and Lim Lay Feng

The start of a new year – and also the 20th anniversary of the BMDP – and it was very appropriate that our first visitor to the office was also one of our earliest patients who underwent a transplant in 1996.

Diagnosed at age 11 with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and with no option except to have a transplant,  Daniel Prior was the first paediatric transplant patient at the National University Hospital. Today, sixteen years  later with a degree and juggling a full time job plus a line-up of interests, he is very real proof that a successful transplant allows the patient to get back to a full and normal life.

In his words, “it was a very long time ago but I do remember waiting for news that they had found a donor for me and once that came through, then it was a real race through time and having all the treatment.  Obviously I believe the BMDP is doing fantastic work, and it’s only because a woman in Australia signed up as a donor, that I’m alive today.”

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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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Awesome news!

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Good morning friends!

It’s been really exciting here at BMDP as we have received amazing news!!! As our dear running team trains hard for the marathon, we are glad to announce that North East CDC will be matching every donation DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR! So every donation you make here will now be doubled.

We truly hope that this opportunity will allow us to raise as much funds as we can to pay for tissue typing. This year, we are confident that we will reach our target of 5,000 donors, that means we will need to raise $750,000 – it costs $150 to tissue type each donor.

CLICK HERE NOW and donate generously, because it will be doubled! Your money is going to work harder!

p.s. All funds raised by the five runners will be matched dollar-for-dollar – huge thanks to North East CDC once again!

Meanwhile, here are our dear runners:

1. Ah Siao – Gerrard Lin (read our previous blogpost about him here)

You should have seen him in the news. If you haven't, here's news for you. Gerrard will be dragging a 14kg tire throughout the Full Marathon!
You should have seen him in the news. If you haven’t, here’s news for you. Gerrard will be dragging a 14kg tire throughout the Full Marathon!

2. Dr Yvonne Loh – Transplant Doctor (read our previous blogpost about her here)

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.
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.

3. Laura (click here to donate!)

Laura will be running her first half marathon this year, please show her your support!
Laura will be running her first half marathon this year, please show her your support!

4. Declan & Anne (read their story and donate here!)

Declan & Anne will be running together in support of BMDP!
Declan & Anne will be running together in support of BMDP!

5.Vivien Teo (read more about her story here)

Vivien is a bone marrow transplant nurse, and will be running in the half marathon in support of BMDP!

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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!

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!