Second chance at life: Singaporean finds liver donor after son posts appeal on social media

Mr Eddie Tan, who suffered from chronic hepatitis B infection, needed an immediate liver transplant to increase his chance of survival.
Mr Eddie Tan, who suffered from chronic hepatitis B infection, needed an immediate liver transplant to increase his chance of survival.PHOTO: LESLIE TAN

SINGAPORE - When his father's chronic hepatitis B infection took a turn for the worse last month, Mr Leslie Tan decided to post an appeal for a liver donor on social media.

He and his family were not sure if they could find any donors through the Facebook post.

But within days, a 36-year-old stranger, Mr Lin Hanwei, offered his father a new lease of life.

Mr Tan, 24, who is a student at Nanyang Technological University, told The Straits Times that it was "pure luck and coincidence" that Mr Lin came across the appeal.

"I put up the post on May 22, and Hanwei contacted us on May 26. Besides Facebook, we also took to WhatsApp to share the message with our close friends and people who knew my father. Some of our friends also circulated the message on Instagram," said Mr Tan.

Even though he understood the potential downside to putting his personal information on social media, he said the family did not hesitate to launch the appeal, as they had a pressing need to save his 59-year-old father Eddie Tan from end-stage liver disease.

The blood types of Mr Leslie Tan and his elder sister, as well as those of other family members, are incompatible with their father's type O+, so they were not suitable as donors.

Prospective donors have to go through blood tests, scans and an evaluation in order to ensure they are healthy enough to donate.

Mr Leslie Tan said eight volunteers went for the tests and Mr Lin emerged as the best possible match.

Mr Lin, a financial services director with AXA insurance, underwent an operation that lasted 5½ hours to donate a portion of his liver.

On May 30, Mr Eddie Tan underwent a separate eight-hour transplant surgery at the National University Hospital's (NUH) National University Centre for Organ Transplantation.

 
 

In a Facebook post on June 9, Mr Eddie Tan, who was able to meet his donor twice after the procedure, thanked Mr Lin for giving him a chance to continue watching over his two children and live his life to the fullest.

He said: "Having been brought to the brink of death and back, I have learnt to appreciate and cherish life.

"I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me a second chance at life. We are all truly humbled by your courage and are truly blessed by your precious gift of life," he said.

He also thanked his team of doctors and nurses at NUH who made his transplant possible.

"Thank you, for your magnanimous soul and compassionate heart. May God bless you for your kind deed," he said.