Bone Marrow Donor Programme appeals for 3k new donors

Singapore’s Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) is organising a month-long recruitment drive throughout October with the aim of recruiting at least 3,000 new donors.

BMDP, Singapore’s only register of volunteer bone marrow donors, is tasked to find a match for every patient suffering from a blood-related disease whose survival depends on having a transplant.

Every day, six Singaporeans are diagnosed with various life-threatening blood diseases such as leukaemia and lymphoma. Many of them will not survive without a bone marrow transplant.

With Singapore’s excellent medical infrastructure, transplants are fast-becoming the preferred form of treatment for these patients, but success is still dependent upon finding a matching donor.

The recruitment drive “Match for Life” is a collaboration between the BMDP and the corporate sector. It aims to take advantage of the communications infrastructure within each organisation to reach out and educate staff on the role they can play in saving a life.

“Signing up as a bone marrow donor takes just a few moments, but the commitment to actually donate in the future if identified as a match, means that people must be fully-aware of the long-term implications,” said Jane Prior, President of BMDP.

“By sharing details about our work through company intranets and speaking to staff at lunch talks and other forums, we are confident that more people will step forward to commit to our life-saving mission,” she explained.

Currently, the BMDP has about 50,000 donors on register and has facilitated 36 transplants since January this year.

To improve the odds of finding a match, they must increase the register by at least 5,000 new donors each year.

As BMDP receives no government funding, $2 million also needs to be raised to pay for the laboratory tests required to add each new donor to the database and to operate their 365-day Transplant Services organisation.

The one month campaign has already confirmed the participation of the likes of Citibank, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), SingTel Recreation Club, Diageo, Clifford Chance and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC).

This article was first published in Asiaone