It’s that time of year when we celebrate the successes, kick ourselves for what we could have done better and set the direction for the year ahead. So we want to share a few highlights from the year and how much we have managed to accomplish working together with some great teams and some larger-than life personalities.
Our Match For Life outreach engaged with 6 local universities and colleges, 16 companies and we held 3 major public road shows throughout the year. We reached more than 50,000 people and recruited 4,800 new volunteer donors – less than our target of 7,000 which means we will need to reach even further in 2014. Definite highlights were the new partnerships forged with SMU and NTU and even more exciting our first collaboration with the National Institute of Education – so hopefully more graduate teachers will help take our mission further into the school community.
On another positive, we doubled the number of potential donor matches this last year and 72 people were identified as a match for a patient. On the downside, almost half of them were either not contactable, or they were not willing to go forward to the next stage and so in the final count, 7 Singaporeans went through to donate their bone marrow and hopefully to save a life. This is exciting because our goal is to fulfil at least 50% of our search requests with local donors – offering faster turnaround times and lower cost of procurement – but we still grapple with commitment and this on-going donor education will be a focus next year.
Beyond the numbers, success can be measured in the people we have engaged with and more local donors, means we have more advocates to promote our cause. We also met up with a number of our patients and most touching was the first meeting between a young student and the woman whose life he had saved. A bone marrow transplant can mean a complete cure and after the months of treatment and isolation, our patients are able to pick up the pieces and get back to life as normal. It is these stories and the people we meet who inspire us every day.
But inspiration still needs practical support and with hardly room to move in our current premises, we will start 2014 in a new office in the Novena Specialist Centre. This is another giant leap and we will have a private room for our patients to discuss what support they need from us; space for our volunteers to come and help in the day-to-day hands on work and most exciting we will have a training room to teach everyone that they have the power to save a life.
2014 – Bring it On!