Someone's Mother, Someone's Son
Vickie Expresses Her Gratitude to Her Donor

When one of our very own heroes, Volunteer Manager Wilson Quek, met the woman who is alive today because of his donation, they found a special connection that drives home the importance of registering as a bone marrow donor.

TRAGEDY STRIKES TWICE

In September 2012, Vickie was a successful and active woman in her late 50s living and working in Bangkok. The healthy mother of two adult children went for a routine medical checkup. Vickie was surprised when a blood test returned an abnormality in her white cell count, but nothing could prepare her for the news that she had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). Even worse, she was diagnosed with a variant of the disease that was incurable and the only possible treatment was to have a bone marrow transplant.

 

This wasn’t the first tragedy to strike Vickie’s family – she lost a son at a young age in a tragic accident, and had lost her only brother just a month before her own disastrous discovery. A close family friend referred Vickie to Dr Lim Zi Yi for treatment, then a senior consultant at Singapore’s NUH. Her children rallied around her, willing her to survive the life-threatening disease. But they couldn’t provide the one critical thing that would save her life: a stem cell transplant from a matched donor.

 

With the chance of finding a donor match at just 1 in 20,000, Vickie’s doctors told her it could take time to find a donor. In December, she received mixed news. A donor had been found, but they weren’t a perfect match, which meant the chance of a successful transplant was lower. With time running out, Vickie chose to proceed because without the transplant, she had little hope of survival beyond just a few short months.

The same thing could happen to my own mother and I hope that a stranger out there would be prepared to save her life.

- Wilson, Donor
PREPARING TO SAVE A LIFE

Wilson was going about his normal life when he found out he had been matched to a patient with a life-threatening blood disease. Despite being a busy father with three young children, Wilson jumped at the opportunity to save someone’s life.

 

The harvest took place in early 2013 and after what he describes as the “best medical checkup in his life”, Wilson reports the actual procedure of a traditional bone marrow harvest was simple and painless with the only side effect being slight ache in the lower back for two days. He has since had a fourth son, dispelling any myths that bone marrow donation can affect fertility!

 

Wilson’s generous donation has given Vickie a second chance at life and they were eager to meet each other. On meeting at BMDP, Wilson and Vickie found a special connection. Vickie realised Wilson was around the same age her son would have been, while Wilson found out Vickie was around his mother’s age.

 

Wilson says meeting Vickie made him realise how important it is that people join the bone marrow donor register. He says, “The same thing could happen to my own mother and I hope that a stranger out there would be prepared to save her life.”

PUBLISHED ON 23 October 2017
CHOOSE TO GIVE LIFE TODAY
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?