More bone marrow donors needed

I read with interest the recent report about an eight-year-old Chinese boy who put on 10kg in two months to donate bone marrow to his dying father ("Chinese boy piles on the kilos to save father's life"; Wednesday).

The heartwarming story has captured the hearts of people across Asia, and we wish Cao Yinpeng's father a speedy recovery after he received his life-saving gift.

A bone marrow transplant is often the only cure for patients suffering from blood diseases such as leukaemia or lymphoma.

But finding a suitable donor can be a significant challenge, as Yinpeng's family discovered.

At the Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP), we have a register of volunteer donors, all of whom have given a DNA sample for tissue typing and made a commitment to save a life if they come up as a match to a patient.

For our volunteer bone marrow donors, the act of saving a life is just a few hours of inconvenience, and within a matter of days, life is back to normal, with no side effects or impact on the donor's health.

With six Singaporeans diagnosed daily with a blood disease, the BMDP has committed to adding another 50,000 potential donors to the register over the next three years, and we urge volunteers to come forward.

Making a bone marrow donation is a temporary moment of inconvenience.

For a patient desperately waiting to find a match, it is their only chance of survival.

For more information on how to become a donor, visit www.bmdp.org

Jane Prior (Ms)
Chief Executive
The Bone Marrow Donor Programme

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2016, with the headline 'More bone marrow donors needed'. Print Edition | Subscribe