“I owed it to you for being able to stand upright here”

150218 I owe it to you

What had been kept at heart for seven years was finally uttered. Mrs Jennifer Yeo, the wife of former Singapore foreign minister Mr George Yeo, took their son to Tzu Chi’s East Region office on Jun 10 to thank the Samaritan who donated the bone marrow which saved her youngest son.

 “I want to thank the donor. He has made it possible for me to stand upright here.” A 17-year-old Frederick uttered each word with endless gratitude and joy of a rebirth, his youthful and shy face sparkling with strong determination.

“I do not live just for myself now but for all of you who have played a part in saving my life.”

A live that survives owing to Love

Upon entering the premise, Frederick had been sitting quietly with an occasional grin – perhaps because he was not familiar with the Chinese language, the language commonly spoken in Taiwan.

Playing on the screen were footages of the first blood test exercises conducted by Tzu Chi in 1993 to gather blood samples for its bone marrow registry, as well as how the matching bone marrow was flown over thousands of miles to the intended recipients.

Frederick had his eyes glued to the screen; his face grew stern as he digested the video with the help of a translator. He had come to understand how his own survival from leukaemia was made possible.

Frederick’s mother took time to share her odyssey with the volunteers present: “Frederick was diagnosed with childhood leukaemia when he was three and he started to develop different symptoms in the following year. In the end, the doctor told us the only way for him to survive was through bone marrow transplant!”

“My husband and I tried to look for matching bone marrow from his three siblings and as many marrow banks as we could contact but our efforts went in vain. We never gave up and thank goodness we found a match at last in Tzu Chi bone marrow registry.” Mrs Yeo couldn’t hide her emotions when relating the plight her family had gone through, but at the same time showed how strong-willed she was then.

The bone marrow transplant was carried out on Frederick on Christmas day in 2004 in the USA. He recovered well after the transplant but cancerous cells started to appear two months later. The family prayed sincerely for Frederick’s recovery. And their prayers were answered, all the cancerous cells in Frederick’s body disappeared after one and half years.

“Frederick’s blood type has changed from AB to O. He has become a ‘relative’ of the donor,” said Mrs Yeo with a hearty laugh.

Gratitude makes lives joyful

“My family and I are deeply grateful for the compassion and great love of Tzu Chi. The marrow donor registry has not only benefited me alone but many others.” Holding a bouquet of flower, Frederick wanted to identify his saviour and handed him the token of appreciation.

They had never met each other and all Frederick knew was that the donor is a gentleman. The teen tried his best to identify the donor among the Tzu Chi volunteers at the scene with the same effort as when he was “searching” for matching bone marrow many years ago.

“Is it you? Did you donate your bone marrow to me?” With his mother holding his hand, Frederick moved slowly away from the first person whom he approached. The person had shaken his head.

“Did you donate your bone marrow to me so that I can live on?” The second volunteer smiled and shook his hands, motioning him to carry on with his search.

“It’s you, right? It’s you…” when Frederick came face to face with Huang Chi-chuan, his feet were rooted to the ground and he couldn’t move anymore. They hugged each other tightly; tears welled up in Frederick’s eyes as he was finally united with the person whom he had wanted to meet so badly.

Mrs Yeo then embraced Brother Huang twice with teary eyes, thanking him for giving her son a new and healthy life.

Applause, tears and murmurs of gratitude overwhelmed the room instantly.

After all, Love is like spring water that flows far to reach the needy, binding strangers together to help each other for a blissful future.


– Unable to watch patients with blood disorder suffering in silence and after affirming that bone marrow transplant can save lives without harming the donor, Master Cheng Yen started the Tzu Chi Marrow Donor Registry in October 1993.
– In 2002, the registry was incorporated as a division of the Tzu Chi Stem Cells Centre, which was founded to improve research and treatment of blood disease patients.
– As of March 2011, the centre has provided a total of 2417 patients from 28 countries with bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells, of which 66 cases were from Singapore (three of them were umbilical cord blood transplants).


Source :http://www.tzuchi.org.sg/~tzuchior/eng/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1132:i-owed-it-to-you-for-being-able-to-stand-upright-here&catid=116:2011-news&Itemid=574



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