I am a Bone Marrow donor

What can $580,000 buy you in Singapore?
Apartment, car, holiday, maybe happiness?

What if I tell you this donation can buy HOPE?

Last week, I attended a media event to raise awareness for Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP). For someone stricken with blood disorders like leukemia or lymphoma, sometimes the only cure is a direct bone marrow transplant. $580,000 means tissue typing is available for almost 4,000 potential marrow donors.

We honour the brave donors from left Sharlini , Chin Sheng, and Dr Yvonne.

And we pay compliments to the gala committee for raising fund for BMDP.

Who is BMDP?
Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) is an organisation which provides a life line for those affected by blood disorder. Headed by Jane Prior (President), I quote “BMDP is in the Business of Miracles“. BMDP match patients to potential bone marrow donors, globally.

Currently, Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) has a registry of 50,000 volunteers, and BMDP hopes to get 5,000 potential donors for 2012.
More volunteers, more chances of finding a match.

Watch this video to understand more about bone marrow Harvesting and Transplant

I am not a doctor, but you can get most of the medical definitions translated to English at BMDP’s Glossary page –> http://www.bmdp.org/glossary.php#b


Why would you want to be a bone marrow donor?

What happen if we are struck with disease, and the doctor give us an “expiry” date of months or years. How would we feel? It will be depressing because a child will lose his adulthood, or a parent will lose the opportunity to watch his kids grow up.

As Gerti mentioned, Leukemia does not distinguish it’s victim. It strikes anybody, the young, the old, the fit, the poor and the rich. It is especially heart aching when young kids are affected. Kids who should be enjoying the great outdoors or studying, but are instead confined in hospital wards 🙁

From young, my Mum has urged me to be a useful person (做好人). If we have the opportunity to help or save someone, would you volunteer yourself ?

How can you register as a donor?

1. Contact BMDP
2. Get your DNA sample via a buccal swab (photo of pretty model above)
3. Your DNA sample undergoes tissue-typing and your name will be registered with BMDP

Three simple steps, and I quote BMDP :
“To the world, you are one person, but to the person that you help, you are the ONE.


How is bone marrow extracted from the donor?

There are two methods of extracting bone marrow from a donor.
– Direct extraction from the pelvic area, via GA (general anaesthesia)
– Peripheral blood stem cell, just like normal blood donation

We heard only 5% of marrow is extracted, and our body will replendish the bone marrow within days. For option (i), there might be a bit of discomfort (numbness) around the pelvic area, but a donor is likely to get back to his usual exercise routine within weeks.


My donor experience

In 2002, my bone marrow recipient was a young boy, let us call him M.
He is from Malaysia PJ.

[Potential donor and recipient cannot meet each other until one year after transplant]
I secretly heard from the ward nurses that he was just like any other bubbly kids, 13 years old, full of life and energy. M was a brave and cheerful chap.

I just got married ten years ago, and perhaps I could not understand the parents’ anguish back then. But after becoming a parent myself, you hope no child has to undergo all the needles and chemo treatments 🙁

[Perhaps that is the reason why it takes me ten long years to tell my story now.]
I met M and his family one year after his transplant. He looks healthy, and I was truly happy that I have given someone a second chance. Alas M suffers a relapse, and succumb to his illness. I felt sad, and maybe guilt, that my bone marrow could not save M.

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In our own small way, we can make a difference.
Although M is no longer with us today, we take heart that he went down fighting and did not want to give up. I really hope donors will have the power to give HOPE and a second chance to a patient.

For donors who are concerned about possible side effects of being a donor, I offer the analogy of child birth to describe my experience. I was present during all my kids’ delivery, and I am still in awe of how my wife (and all mothers) withstand the pain to deliver our babies.

… the minimal discomfort we experienced from a direct pelvic marrow extraction is No where near our women’s sacrifices.

If you need more information on the procedures, or if you have more doubts, I am sure team BMDP will be glad to answer your queries. Let no needles, nor myths, or the scary “unknown” stop you from making the right choice.

Someone mention a possible loss of vitality, but hey, look at me, a happy father with four active kids. I feel younger each day. There is nothing more rewarding than to be given the opportunity to save a life.

We can, and we should raise more awareness about bone marrow transplant. Let more people step forward, let HOPE shines brighter.

sincerely yours,
Andy Lee

ps.. Daddy is sharing more info about BMDP (FAQ and Procedures) and Bone Marrow story at this page

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Additional information
Photo credits to BMDP fanpage

You an reach BMDP at their blog or fanpage.
– More questions? Refer BMDP’s FAQ.

When Daddy and Mummy kiss

When Daddy and Mummy smooches, kids always crowd around to see-show. Somehow, they think it is fun, but we always remind the older boys not to kiss any girls who pop up !

The smaller two will feel jealous that we are not kissing them instead haha.
Have you kiss infront of your kids before, Daddy guarantee you there will be a lot of giggling and funny moments.

Another pose which we like is the I-am-Angry look. Kids will always try to grin and look angry, but the comic effect is so hilarious. Just look at No3 bad boy Boon Yi.

You will not see many families lug their own props outdoor. SengkangBabies brought our own chairs to Sengkang Riverside Park last weekend.

After our own photos, Danny (http://www.dannyst.com) joined us for round two. We introduced him in an earlier post, and we cannot wait to share his photos with our friends 🙂

Meanwhile, Danny is looking for more local families in his portfolio, you can book an appointment with him at DannySantos@gmail.com

Shutter over to our Fanpage for more kissing fun photos !

Essilor OptiFog lens, no more foggy moments


Lens fogging is common everywhere. In humid Singapore, when there is a sudden change in temperature, fogging will occur (due to condensation).

Some day to day examples will be sipping of coffee, or when we alight from an aircon bus. When parents are cooling down after chasing the kids, our breathing will cause lens fogging again.

Look at Essilor’s video clip for more fogging scenarios.

Now, the kids might find it cute for Daddy to be “blind”, but Daddy finds it an inconvenience. You cannot do anything until the fog wears off. When Daddy knew about Essilor’s new OptiFog len, he was curious about how lens fogging can be minismised.

Essilor has made a spacial anti-fog lens, they call it OptiFog. Together with a special solution (Activator), Essilor claim it takes only three steps for anti-fogging effect to last for one week !
To be practical. that one week claim is only possible if you do not clean your lens.
Yes, only if you leave the stain and smudge on your lens :p

Daddy chose a half-frame to go with his new lens. In addition to anti-fog, Essilor’s len come with features like anti-glare and anti-scratch too.

After collecting his new specs and lens, Daddy went to Pulau Semakau for some nature adventures. His new lens did not disappoint, there was no fogging for one whole day! You can perspire, you can go in and out of aircon coaches, or navigate the forest walk, no more fogging Yeah !

For our fans and friends, they know Sengkang’s Babies are super active. We enjoy running in our parks, and now with OptiFog, Daddy can safely say lens fogging will no longer be an obstacle to Fun (hello Starfish) !

Daddy would like to thanks the nice people at Vibescomm for giving Daddy an opportunity to review the OptiFog lens. More information is available at www.optifog.com
OptiFog lens will be available at leading opticians.

By the way, Daddy is sure this barbie-cooking scenario will not be happening soon :p