54-year-old man becomes first in Singapore to donate liver to a complete stranger

Mr Lim Kok Seng (left) donated his liver to 16-year-old Lim Si Jia, who was diagnosed with glycogen storage disease when she was 8.
Mr Lim Kok Seng (left) donated his liver to 16-year-old Lim Si Jia, who was diagnosed with glycogen storage disease when she was 8.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Mr Lim Kok Seng (left) donated his liver to 16-year-old Lim Si Jia, who was diagnosed with glycogen storage disease when she was 8.
Mr Lim Kok Seng (left) donated his liver to 16-year-old Lim Si Jia, who was diagnosed with glycogen storage disease when she was 8.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Liver donor Mr Lim Kok Seng, holding a card and a jar of folded paper cranes given to him by 16-year-old Lim Si Jia.
Liver donor Mr Lim Kok Seng, holding a card and a jar of folded paper cranes given to him by 16-year-old Lim Si Jia. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
(From left) 16-year-old Lim Si Jia, Mr Lim Kok Seng, Professor Krishnakumar Madhavan, Co-director at the National University Centre for Organ Transplantation at NUH, and Prof Quak Seng Hock, Head and Senior Consultant, division of Paediatric Gastroen
(From left) 16-year-old Lim Si Jia, Mr Lim Kok Seng, Professor Krishnakumar Madhavan, Co-director at the National University Centre for Organ Transplantation at NUH, and Prof Quak Seng Hock, Head and Senior Consultant, division of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, NUH, speak during a press conference on June 20, 2016. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Mr Lim Kok Seng (right) donated his liver to 16-year-old Lim Si Jia, who was diagnosed with glycogen storage disease when she was 8.
Mr Lim Kok Seng (right) donated his liver to 16-year-old Lim Si Jia, who was diagnosed with glycogen storage disease when she was 8.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Many people would donate an organ to a loved one in need, but how about a complete stranger?

For Mr Lim Kok Seng, this was never in any doubt. Last year, the security concierge stepped forward as a non-directed donor willing to offer part of his liver to anyone in need on the national waiting list.

A match was found in 16-year old Lim Si Jia, and the transplant took place at the National University Hospital in March this year.

Mr Lim, 54, has become the first non-directed liver donor in Singapore's 26-year history of carrying out liver transplants. This means he donated a part of his liver to a person he did not know.

"This is the first time someone has stepped forward to say: 'I want to donate my liver, it doesn't matter to who'," said Professor Krishnakumar Madhavan, co-director of the National University Centre for Organ Transplantation.

The recipient, Si Jia, had a condition known as glycogen storage disease. This means that her original liver could not properly break down stored glycogen.

Although she was able to live life normally, the condition had caused a benign tumour and would have affected her growth.

She is now on medication to prevent her body from rejecting the donated organ, which she will have to consume for life.

Mr Lim, who has been taking part in different clinical trials for the past decade, said that the donation was "the next step forward" for him.

"Just to save a life, that was my heart's desire," he said.