Charity Begins at Home: Pius Sutopo Donor Story

Earlier this year I received an email telling me that I was a match for a patient needing a bone marrow transplant. I had joined the Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) register in 2016, and knowing that the odds of being a match are so low (1 in 20,000), I honestly never imagined I would be called upon.


Working in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) we always try to match the right buyer with the right seller, so the concept of searching for that one match who can make all the difference, resonates with me. Unlike M&A however, for a patient seeking a bone marrow donor, their life really does hang by the thread. Imagine the desperation being the patient whose life depends on finding a stranger who is willing to donate his / her marrow! It’s a terrifying thought, and a situation that no one should need to face, and yet many people in Singapore do, every day.


I joined the register because it is simply doing what is right, which should be natural to everyone. I mean, a person’s life is truly priceless, and all it takes to make a real difference is the willingness to help.


There is a lot of misinformation out there. However, having been through the process myself, I can say that it is nothing more than 6 hours of Netflix! I chose to donate via peripheral blood stem cell collection (PBSC) and put simply, you are hooked to a machine that takes your blood and processes it – taking blood stem cells only and circulating the rest back to you. The process itself was seamless and straightforward, with friendly and professional medical staff who made sure I was comfortable throughout.


End of the day, I realised that 6 hours of staying still is a small price to pay for giving someone a fighting chance. From the cost-benefit analysis, the upside is simply overwhelming! Besides, being almost genetically identical to someone else, means that you are literally helping your brother or sister out there. This to me qualifies the old saying that ‘charity begins at home.’


- Pius Sutopo, blood stem cell donor & lifesaver

PUBLISHED ON 19 December 2017
Registering to become a bone marrow donor means committing to be there when you get the call to give life. Each registrant provides hope for those waiting. A person could, however, be a match within a few months of registering, a year later or even seven years later.
How to register?