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!
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
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)
2. Dr Yvonne Loh – Transplant Doctor (read our previous blogpost about her here)
3. Laura (click here to donate!)
4. Declan & Anne (read their story and donate here!)
5.Vivien Teo (read more about her story here)
What is the BMDP Charity Gala without Gerti Iwatake? Ever-ready to give her all, Gerti is a mix of blond glamour, German industry and most definitely Singaporean by friendships and association.
After organising three highly-successful galas for the BMDP, Gerti is now raring to go for the next one on March 23, 2013 at the Fullerton Hotel which targets to raise half a million dollars to go towards the tissue-typing of new bone marrow donors. As the chairperson of the Charity Gala organising committee, Gerti leads her team of like-minded heroes to give patients a better chance of survival through fund-raising for the BMDP.
“My committee members and I believe deeply in this local cause with its huge global impact. The challenge is to be successful year after year – to raise more funds and keep expanding the donor register,” said Gerti. Apart from her team’s support, Gerti reserves special praise for her daughter and husband – her pillars of comfort and encouragement. “They are happy that I can make a difference in the lives of others and I am grateful for their love and patience,” shares Gerti.
Gerti enjoys her work with the BMDP and that is evident from her standing in the local philanthropy and high society scene as well as the people she interacts with. “Nobody can fail to notice Gerti for the amazing energy and commitment she brings to the cause” said BMDP President, Jane Prior, “she’s our very own angel”.
Born in Germany, BMDP’s wunderwoman comes from a charity-oriented family and is an only child of a volunteer at the Red Cross, trained as a nurse. Looking back, she figures that must have rubbed off on her to do good for others. Gerti has come a long way since her childhood days and the well-dressed persona in public is definitely not afraid to roll up her sleeves and work long hours for charity. This work ethic she brings to the BMDP inspires those around her to give their all for the cause.
“The BMDP Charity Gala has become a key fixture on the local high society calendar and we are proud to be at the Fullerton Hotel next year. There will be all the ingredients of a fabulous night – entertainment, champagne, an auction and a lucky draw. Invite your friends and fill our ballroom; the more tables we sell, the more lives we can save!” exclaims Gerti. Next time you see her, be warned! Gerti is a woman on a mission.
“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 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
As the saying goes, “for many are called, but few are chosen”. In 1993, Martin Thoo, a young junior college student, took up the call to action and signed up with the BMDP as a volunteer bone marrow donor. “It just seemed like the right thing to do,” explained Martin. How many of us can put our hands up and say yes, we did our part for society at age 17 or 18 and will give willingly when the time comes?
Several years later, a grown-up Martin kept his promise and gave the ultimate gift anyone can give – a gift of life. Looking back, Martin never once hesitated in donating his bone marrow; and he will do the same if called upon today. “We must never take for granted that someone else will respond to the call; every step no matter how small, must begin with us,” said Martin.
“Seeing the BMDP progress every year and that my contribution has made a difference drives me to give my all. Being the Honorary General Secretary may sound mundane, but I enjoy it!” exclaimed Martin.
Viewing his commitment to the BMDP more as a calling instead of a responsibility is a telling factor of this man’s mission – touching lives. The BMDP is in urgent need of donors and funding – the lifeblood of patients at the various transplant hospitals in Singapore.
Martin concludes, “I hope that the BMDP will one day become the donor register hub of the region; to give hope to those who have none”.
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.
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!