Saturday, June 28, 2014

Find me a match, save a life

My Paper, Friday, June 27, 2014, Page A2, News, Top Stories
From http://epaper.mypaper.sg/emnd/fvxen/fvxp/fvxpress.php?param=2014-06-27
Source Website: http://mypaper.sg/top-stories/find-me-match-save-life-20140627
By Carolyn Khew,  kcarolyn@sph.com.sg, mypaper, Published on Jun 27, 2014
 

SAY 'I DO': Ms Prior (centre) with the NJC students (front row) and volunteers from Republic Polytechnic and Singapore Management University yesterday.
PHOTO: SAY 'I DO': Ms Prior (centre) with the NJC students (front row) and volunteers from Republic Polytechnic and Singapore Management University yesterday.
Their aim was to show how hard it was to find a suitable bone-marrow donor.
PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YNQzoDTc6m8/U65nftTfWzI/AAAAAAAAb-g/cy16V5_phM0/s1600/MY_20140627_CKBONE27_P_443997-1.jpg
http://mypaper.sg/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/field/image/20140627/MY_20140627_CKBONE27_P_443997.jpg
http://mypaper.sg/top-stories/find-me-match-save-life-20140627



THEY might have received stares from curious onlookers, but four girls dressed in bridal gowns braved the heat to look for that "special someone" at Raffles Place yesterday.

Using this analogy, they were trying to draw attention to a more sobering fact.

With the odds of finding a bone-marrow donor being one in 20,000, it is perhaps more difficult to find a bone-marrow match than to randomly find that "special someone" on the streets of Singapore.

Even after a match is found, some potential donors back out, said Jane Prior, honorary president of the Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) - Singapore's only registry of bone-marrow donors.

Over here, six Singaporeans are diagnosed each day with a blood disease and many of them will die without a bone-marrow transplant. Leukaemia, or blood cancer, is also a leading cause of death for children.

"Blood cancer is not a lifestyle disease. It can come out of nowhere and can hit anybody at any time," said Ms Prior.

"For patients who don't get a match, it's like starving to death because you can't get inside the supermarket.

We have well-qualified teams to do bone-marrow transplants and the infrastructure is here. It's just that one missing link (the donors)."

Last year, there were 452 search requests - from both local and overseas patients - but only 45 got a transplant.

An 18-year-old boy was keen to donate his bone marrow to a match, but his parents objected.

"His mother felt that it wasn't appropriate for him, given that he was going to start a new job in a few months," said Ms Prior. "I hope that we can find the patient another donor."

Yesterday's event was an effort aimed at raising awareness and donations for the BMDP.

There are 40,000 donors on the register and they hope to get another 4,000 donors on board by December this year.

Under Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes - a community initiative started by Citi and the YMCA of Singapore - a group of National Junior College students adopted BMDP as their choice of charity and took about two months to plan the event.

The team hopes to reach its fund-raising target of $15,000.

Funds raised will go towards paying for the costs of adding new donors to the register.

By Carolyn Khew,  kcarolyn@sph.com.sg, mypaper, Published on Jun 27, 2014



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