A World Connected to Save Leukemic Patients
Revised by Dr. Kuo-liang Yang
Translated by Tim Chou
Since the success of bone marrow stem cell transplantation in the 1970s, leukemic patients have found new hope after enduring a life of abject desperation.
Advances in medical treatment lead to innovations in stem cell transplantation, such as Autologous Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation and Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplantation. Effective pre-op and post-op treatments, in addition to non-myeloablative therapy and methods to increase donor match rate, brought success in fighting leukemia. Every transplant procedure resuscitates a life in struggle, enlightens the healthy marrow with the signifi cance of existence.
With efforts contributed by 62 bone marrow data banks, 10 million entries of donor have been produced in the world. What perturbation must a leukemic patient endure while searching for that single savior in the world?
10 Million Listings Have Brought 10 Million Chances for the Ailing Soul. Enduring twelve long years, the Tzu Chi Stem Cells Center had delivered the one thousand stem cell donation by the year 2005. In the future, the volunteers and staff at the bone marrow care unit will continue to devote their love and compassion to every corner of the world.
The picture is taken under the microscope by Director Kuo-liang Yang of the Tzu Chi Umbilical Cord Blood Bank in July 2005. Thousands of stem cells, under the care of the Director, fortuitously gathered to form the shape of a heart, named “The Heart of Compassion.”
Until the beginning of November 2005, the number of bone marrow donors listed at Bone Marrow Donation Worldwide (BMDW) had exceeded 10 million. The National Online Donor Matching Organization invited the Bone Marrow centers worldwide to participate in the celebration. As part of the organization, Tzu Chi Bone Marrow Stem Cell Center held a ceremony and a symposium on the 19th of November dedicating to discussions on bone marrow and stem cell research.
Tzu Chi Bone Marrow Stem Cell Center also invited Dr. Jeffrey Chell, the Chief Executive Officer of the American National Marrow Donor Program, Jun Lin Hong, Director of the Chinese Bone Marrow Bank, and Ms. Yi Yi Gong, Undersecretary of the Chinese Red Cross Main Liaison Branch. These guests congregated to witness the historical moment of having 10 million donors on BMDW.
Three out of One Hundred Donors Originated from Taiwan
According to Ms. Pi-yu Lin, Vice President of Tzu Chi Foundation, Tzu Chi Stem Cells Center is ranked 17th among the 42 participating countries in terms of diversity; Tzu Chi Cord Blood was also ranked the 5th for its diversity among the 21 countries with the same program. Currently, the data bank at Tzu Chi holds 280,000 listings, accumulated by the 100,000 volunteers laboring through thousands of gathering.
“In other words, there are nearly three Taiwanese among every one hundred donors who donated marrow, demonstrating the substantiality of Taiwanese compassion and benevolence.” Ms. Lin gave the encouraging words to commend the volunteers’ altruistic efforts over the years, and remind that “although substantial, amassing the compassion is certainly an arduous task. With our collaboration and diligence, let us enrich and diversify the contents of the data bank.”
Rescuing Seventy Types of Leukemic Patients with Efforts and Compassion from the World
“Currently there are about 70 types of leukemic patients who require a bone marrow transplant procedure; an increasing donor population may significantly improve the chance of survival for more patients.” Dr. Chell from the National Marrow Donor Program suggested that aside from the attempt to increase the donor population, there is a definite need to train more qualified physicians. If leukemic patients receive early detection and treatment, their chance of recovery would be much higher.
Dr. Chell also mentioned that “United States will continue to collaborating with Taiwan and China in order to expand bone marrow donor registry. About 40% of the patients receive the transplant are from the United States, and these people are able to survive because of the collective love and compassion from people all over the globe.”
Donors Number in Chinese Bone Marrow Bank Increases with an Exceptional Fast Speed and with Unrivaled Heart and Compassion
Due to slow strart by the Chinese Bone Marrow Bank in year 2001, development has been difficult for the organization. Fortunately, after various visits , consultations, and communication with the United States, there has been noticeable progress now. Mr. Jun Lin Hong, Director of the Chinese Bone Marrow Bank, shared with the members that “one should not forget the direct experiences provided by Tzu Chi over the years, the invaluable philosophy bestowed by the organization.” Within a few years, the Chinese Bone Marrow Bank had accumulated over 350,000 listings; however, compare the number to the 10 billion population, there is plenty of room for improvement.
Bone Marrow Registry Reached Thousandth Record after Twelve Years
At the end of December 2005, the 12-year-old Tzu Chi Bone Marrow Stem Cell Center brought fantastic news that the thousandth bone marrow donation is being delivered to the United States.
Brother Nye Yu Chen, director of the Tzu Chi Bone Marrow Donation Care Unit, expressed his feelings at this affecting and ecstatic moment. In his mind, there exist memoirs of labor and hardship on the road to reach this success. Moreover, at this time of celebration, Brother Chen shared two thoughts.
“First, we are the first Bone Marrow Bank successfully operated by a private organization. During the past twelve years, we came to realize the respect and appreciation of invaluable human life stressed by Master Cheng Yen.
Second , it was difficult to obtain parental consent at the early year of the Registry ; however, parents now accompanying their children to donate bone marrow. Brother Chen noted that the general public has come to realize that bone marrow donation is an act to save someone without inflicting sufferness to oneself. Therefore, we are able to reach the one thousandth donation today.”
Director Yang also expresses that all donors possess great intelligence, benevolence, bravery, and compassion. They are all heroes in our eyes. The volunteer workers who devote themselves behind the scenes are especially commendable.
The love expressed by bone marrow donors is gathered by the power of internet networks and conferred to the patients waiting for a possible match. Regardless of race and skin color, the patients now rely not on hope alone, but an enormous life force and compassion devoted by people all over the globe.