Register to be a Bone Marrow donor today

I donated my Bone Marrow in 2002, my kids were born in 2003, 2005, 2007 and Boon Xin 2009. If someone tells you that donating your bone marrow will harm your vitality, send them to SengkangBabies, ooops I meant Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP). BMDP will gladly help to debunk the myths 🙂

Both me and my Mrs are really happy and contented to see our kids grow up healthily.
If you ask me whether I will donate again, answer is YES, and I am sure my family will support my decision.

Last Friday, 30 plus donors were invited to a special Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) event, the theme was “A celebration of Heroes”. Some of the Bone Marrow recipients were also present.

Ask donor Shalini, it was a joyous occasion as her Bone Marrow recipient graced the event too. Or maybe you can ask BMDP’s patron K Shanmugam (Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law), he did not hesitate to wefie with the donors 🙂

(image credit Wilson)

Everyone loves Birthday parties, the cakes, the songs and the company. Happy Birthday! was especially meaningful to Dave, one year after he received his Bone Marrow transplant.

As Dave shares his story, in the background was a picture of Dave’s happy family. He was 33 (or 34), in the prime of his life, when he was struck with a blood disease. He does not know whether he would be able to see his girls grow up, or who would take care of his family, should the situation turns sour.

A donor came into the picture.

20 years later, to see Dave in the pink of health, daughters all grown up, it was a heartfelt and poignant moment. I can only imagine how grateful Dave was 20 years ago when he celebrated his life reborn.

To Dave, it is not a simple Happy Birthday celebration. He was celebrating Hope, Opportunities, Family, and Aspirations etc.

Photo above. What a small world, I always knew Bob Lee as the Fat Farmer big-hearted photographer. Was glad to know that he was a fellow donor, 2007.


(image credit BMDP)

I was very happy that my two oldest boys were there with me to witness the occasion. They might be too young to understand about Bone Marrow transplant, but I hope to inculcate in my kids the mindset to do the Right thing (做好人).

Video : Real life story of Elliot and Lisa (donor)

Talking to a few donors, most of us were shy to be called Heroes haha.
“No big deal”. “Anyone would have done it”.
But most of us are not shy to admit that we will donate again 🙂

A little sacrifice on our part, and someone else (a son, a father, a husband) might receive a second dose of Hope. To be a Bone Marrow donor is an honor, it is not every day that we get an opportunity to save another life.

Would you volunteer to give someone else a Second Chance?
Pop by BMDP Website and Fanpage to know how you can register to be a Bone Marrow donor. Read my own experience here.

What is Bone Marrow transplant?

If you browse through the obituaries, you will quickly realised that people who have passed on, are not necessary Old folks. When we are young and healthy, we tend not to think about illness, suffering or death.

Unfortunately, Cancer and diseases do not discriminate between young and old, the rich or poor. As a parent, we do not wish to see any child sick.

You might have spotted us on Straits Time and 联合早报 Wednesday (27Feb2013). Daddy was helping BMDP (Bone Marrow Donor Programme) to spread awareness about Bone Marrow transplant (骨髓移植).

Ten years ago (before SengkangBabies arrive), Daddy faced a lot of questions and uncertainties. With Mummy’s support, and a wish to do good (做好人), Daddy went ahead to donate his Bone Marrow.

** What Daddy can do today is to share his experience, spread more awareness and encourage more to be donors or volunteers.

The Questions

BMDP’s FAQ page will answer some of our doubts or even clear some myths.
1. What is Bone Marrow?
2. Why do we need to talk about Bone Marrow Transplant?
3. Is it safe to donate your Bone Marrow? Any side effects?
4. How is Bone Marrow extracted ?
5. How long does it take to recover?

More processes can be found at BMDP website. For example :
– what happens after you register?
– how is a Donor selected and how are the tissues matched ?
– how does Transplant requests reach BMDP?

Some traditional folks believe vitality might diminished after Bone marrow extraction.
Daddy went on to have four healthy kids after his donation 🙂

Video : BMDP is giving Hope, creating Miracles

The Numbers

Every day – 6 patients are diagnosed with blood-related diseases
Every Month – 30 requests to find matching Donors
Every Year – 50 Bone Marrow related operations in Singapore

Odds of being the chosen donor – 1 in 20,000
Within the family – 1 in 4

With a larger donor base, the probability of finding a match is higher.
BMDP is targeting 20,000 more donors over next three years.

It costs $150 to tissue-match each new donor.
How much do we need to register 20,000 new donors !

Save life, give Hope, giving back to society, do Good.
Whatever the reasons, all of us have the capacity to HELP.

How can we Help?

Be a Donor, or help as a volunteer during recruitment drives.
Your monetary donations will help to fund new donor’s tissue matching expenses.

BMDP’s contacts :
Email – admin@bmdp.org
Web – http://www.bmdp.org
Fanpage – http://www.facebook.com/bmdp.sg?fref=ts
Phone – 6327 1344


With Jane Prior, BMDP’s president. To quote Jane “BMDP is in the business of Miracles”.

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Through his actions, Daddy hopes to inspire the kids to do Good and contribute back to society too. Help SengkangBabies spread Bone marrow transplant (骨髓移植) awareness. Bring more HOPE to someone today.

a) You can read about Daddy’s 2002 experience here.

b) For those interested, do a image.google.com (search Bone Marrow) and you will have an idea of how Bone Marrow can be extracted. The pictures might make some uncomfortable, and please ignore the soup-tulong images :p

c) Did you know that a newborn’s umbilical cord contains rich Stem cells? If you are not banking the baby’s stem cells with a private institution, do consider
Singapore Cord Blood Bank (Public Cord Blood bank).

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

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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 ?

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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.

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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.

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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]
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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.]
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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.