There is a proverb which says that “it takes a whole village to raise a child” – and likewise it takes a whole team of people with different skills and diverse personalities to find that one person in 20,000 who is the matching donor for a patient.
So before we close the year, we wanted to share some numbers and how all this comes together. First of all, our Match For Life team has recruited just over 12,000 new donors working with diverse community partners including ITE colleges, junior colleges, polytechnics and universities, government departments and more than 45 companies.
The patient services team delivered bone marrow (blood stem cells) to a total of 56 patients which means families and personal communities who were all given this one last chance of survival. 15 of these donors were from our local register while other matching donors had to come from as far away as Finland, Europe, Israel, and the United States.
Our international transports are all carried out by trained volunteers who give their time freely and hand-carry the life-saving cells from the collection centre to the patient in the transplant ward. Then behind the scenes we have the trained professionals working with our local donors and their families throughout their extraordinary journeys of courage as they go through the medical check-up and make the actual donation.
There are travel agents and taxi drivers, phlebotomists and laboratory technicians and partners in registries all around the world ready to answer the call and all very aware that whatever the role they play, it is absolutely vital to the seamless delivery of our work. We all know that our patients have been given just one last chance and time is running out.
So it’s not quite a village but the world of the BMDP is surely as diverse and yet united as any village – or kampong – ever could be and together we are all in this to save lives.
Watch out for us on 2016 – we have more donors to recruit, we need more volunteers to help us and everyone can make a difference.
– Jane Prior