Bone marrow donors hailed as heroes for saving others

Minister K Shanmugam (front, with pink tie) takes part in a "we-fie" on stage as bone marrow donors set a Guinness record for the largest number of bone marrow donors in the same place at the Raffles Institution on Jan 30, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSU
Minister K Shanmugam (front, with pink tie) takes part in a "we-fie" on stage as bone marrow donors set a Guinness record for the largest number of bone marrow donors in the same place at the Raffles Institution on Jan 30, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - The Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) brought together the largest gathering of 34 heroes - defined as someone who has saved the life of another - in celebration of the efforts of bone marrow donors, on Friday.

The BMDP Celebration of Heroes event saw Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, Mr K. Shanmugam, present awards to these individuals who have given patients another shot at life.

Currently, the odds of finding a match for a patient are one in 20,000 within the same racial group. The odds are even lower for patients from Malay and Indian communities due to their low representation on the register.

"In donating their stem cells, our donors have set an example for all Singaporeans to do the right thing whenever the opportunity arises," said Mr Shanmugam.

In conjunction with SG50, the event also marked the programme's commitment to recruit 50,000 new donors onto the volunteer bone marrow donor register within the next three years, more especially Malays and Indians.

The BMDP is a non-profit organisation that builds and manages Singapore's only register of volunteer donors who can be called up to save lives of patients with leukaemia and other blood diseases when a there is a match. It has given nearly 500 patients a chance of survival since it was formed in 1993.