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Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Gift of Life

It is Father’s Day tomorrow and I am writing this post as a tribute to my wonderful husband.

About 6 years ago, hubby who donated blood 1-2 times a year decided to sign up to be a bone marrow donor as well.

Hubby received a call from the Bone Marrow Donor Programme at the end of 2009 informing him of a potential match, he was told the chances of a positive match was 1 in 22,000! It took him 2-3 days to ponder about whether to proceed. His mum heard about the call and dissuaded him to go ahead due to the uncertainties involved. Furthermore at that point of time, I was pregnant with Julien and he was going to be a father soon!

I told hubby that I would support him in whichever decision he made eventually.

Well, he finally said “Yes!” and the crucial factor was that he recalled the painful experience of losing a friend to leukemia at a tender age of 20 years old. Jared found out later that his friend did actually manage to get a match with a donor in Japan in the end but he was unfortunately too sick by then to go through a transplant operation and he eventually passed on…….

Here’s what Jared had to go through after he agreed to donate his stem cells.

Pre-donation

He had to first undergo a series of three tests.

i. Round 1 - three vials of blood to be drawn for a high resolution test.

ii. Round 2 - 12 vials of blood to be drawn for further tests.

iii. Round 3 - A series of X-rays, ECGs and physical examinations, and another drawing of four vials of blood.

Actual donation

The hubby opted for the less invasive but more prolonged procedure, a method known as the PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell) harvest. This involves several injections to encourage blood stem cells to move into the circulating blood stream. The stem cells are then collected as an outpatient procedure and drawn from the blood via a blood separator machine.

The entire procedure lasted over five days. The hubby had to rush to the Singapore General Hospital every morning (and then rush back to his office to work) for three days to receive injections to boost his stem cell production. The stem cell harvest procedure itself lasted 2 days. Both of Jared’s arms were hooked to a machine from 10am to about 430pm for the first day. The last day involved only one arm for the same amount of time. The long hours hooked to the machine were tiring and after a few hours, his veins got sore and painful.Jared

Post-donation

Hubby was given a few days MC and he did suffer some minor side-effects of the donation – backaches and flu-like symptoms. But hubby always says the pain suffered by the patients are much worse.

My hero... :)

Today hubby is strong and healthy as ever! Thank God!

Due to the anonymous nature of the donation, details of the donor and beneficiary of the stem cells are kept confidential. But Jared kinda figured out the donation was meant for a young girl, possibly in her teenage years and he always wonder did the beneficiary get better after the transplant?

One year later….

We received a card in the mail…..

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The card had a picture of sunflowers… symbols of sunshine, life and joy…

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And we opened the card…

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Tears welled up in our eyes as we read the message in the card.

Hubby’s selfless decision resulted in a gift of life, a second chance to someone out there. It was ALL worth it and I am SOOOOOOO proud of my wonderful hubby. I hope Julien grows up to be as courageous and selfless as his daddy too!

HAPPY FATHERS’ DAY HUBBY!

                                                Love, Me & Julien

You can do your part by joining the Bone Marrow Programme too. Find out right here.

3 comments:

evelynneo said...

Hero! :) Very impressed! :) Happy Daddy's Day, Jared! :)

Jayme Shing said...

Wahhh! Solid man!! I am sure Julien will grow up to be just like his dad! And happy fathers' day too Jared!!

San said...

He IS a hero!!!