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Bone Marrow Donor Programme launches special Sports Series with ambassadors

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The Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) is a nonprofit organisation responsible for building and managing Singapore’s only register of volunteer donors willing to donate their bone marrow and help those who need a transplant to survive.

BMDP has launched a special sports series with five ambassadors as a lead-up activity to Match for Life 2019. The event aims to raise awareness on blood-related diseases and its life-saving cause through soccer tournaments and carnival activities.

The five ambassadors are:

  1. Malcolm Han (Volleyball, Bone Marrow Donor)
  2. Nurshahidah Roslie (Boxing)
  3. Dave Lommen (Ironman Triathlon)
  4. Stancio Lok Le Bin (Darts)
  5. Joey Yeo (Tenpin Bowling)

After the announcement, Nurshahidah and Dave shared their thoughts with the Active Age on being a BMDP ambassador and common misconceptions about bone marrow donation.

the Active Age (AA): Why did you first decide to be an ambassador?
Nurshahidah: After knowing about what BMDP does, hardship of matching a donor on top of sparse database of donors made me realise I can make a difference and be the voice calling out to more people to sign up as donors.

Dave: A very strong student of mine inspired me to start working with BMDP a few years back. He had leukaemia and, sadly, he did not make it. I could not help wondering: would a bone-marrow transplant have saved his life? My mother had also contracted cancer, so it comes very close. Fortunately, my mother has been cancer-free for the past few years.

Bone Marrow

AA: What are the initiatives that you have come up with to raise awareness on bone marrow donation?
Nurshahidah: I educate a few people to register as a donor and help debunk a few myths surrounding the idea of being a donor.

Dave: I have organised a sharing session at a staff meeting at my school. It turned out that an ex-colleague had donated bone marrow while she was a teacher in our school. She agreed to come over and shared on the process. We had also gotten great support from BMDP, which sent over a team with loads of registration kits.

AA: How successful has it been?
Nurshahidah: Some have enrolled themselves after being spoken to, including those who are initially afraid of being a donor.

Dave: We have had about ten sign-ups.

Bone Marrow

AA: What are the challenges that you have encountered so far in spreading the word of the cause?
Nurshahidah: Those really afraid to be a donor. They are just not ready, thus not willing to register themselves.

Dave: I am not good at going up to people and broach the subject, even if I know them well. I thought I would go through my set up sign-up kits in no time. That was not the case. Students will set up a booth in our school for two days in July. Hopefully, they will be more successful.

AA: What is/are the most common misconception(s) of bone marrow donation that you have heard of?
Nurshahidah: That it is a painful procedure if you have to donate, and that it may cause complications.

Dave: People think or assume they cannot donate because of any condition, however minor, they may have. They also think the process is very painful or even dangerous.

Pictures provided by Bone Marrow Donor Programme.



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