'Cheek Swab Month' to save lives

'Cheek Swab Month' to save lives

Organisations join ground-up campaign to raise awareness, recruit bone marrow donors. Find out what this is all about and how it could benefit you.

'Cheek Swab Month' to save livesCorporate organisations and community groups came together to launch ‘Cheek Swab Month’ – a month-long campaign to be held in October 2012 to raise awareness of bone marrow donation and to drive recruitment of volunteer bone marrow donors within their respective organisations.

The campaign grew from the concept of ‘Cheek Swab Day’ – a one-day campaign where many organisations in Singapore came together to promote awareness and recruit donors within their organisations. The brainchild of Terence Quek, CEO of Emergenetics International- Asia, the idea was fully supported by Young NTUC and The Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) – both lending their resources to realise ‘Cheek Swab Day’ on 16 May held at NTUC Centre.

“I was first inspired by the story of an American-born Chinese woman (Ms Janet Liang) suffering from acute leukemia and how her friends rallied to help her find a matching bone marrow donor through roadshows and social media (www.helpingjanet.com). Then I discovered we have local patients in exactly the same position and so wanted to rally Singaporeans to come forward to help Singaporeans and others suffering from blood-related diseases like Janet. Everyone has the power to save someone’s life just by donating our bone marrow and it’s such a simple gesture,” said Terence, an active volunteer in the community who also co-runs local non-profit Project Happy Feet.

'Cheek Swab Month' to save lives

Although the idea of ‘Cheek Swab Day’ was first conceived on 2 May 2012, the ground-up campaign quickly gained momentum among community groups and corporate organisations. Following an urgent co-ord meeting on 7 May, a total of 10 organisations came forward to pledge their participation, with several more signing up.

“This has been a fantastic effort to get so many organisations onboard in record time, but this really reflects the urgency faced by the patients waiting to find a matching bone marrow,” explained Terence. “They are racing against time to survive, so we must act quickly too.”

Corporate organisations that were among the first to come forward include multinationals Hewlett Packard Singapore, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and Emergenetics International-Asia, as well as local SMEs like Right Impact Training, Nails & Brows and Petmart.

The one-day event, which was held at NTUC Centre, preludes the month-long ‘Cheek Swab Month’ to be held in October 2012, where each day, one organization will host a bone marrow donor recruitment drive and spread awareness on the facts of bone marrow donation within its organization. The aim is to provide support to BMDP to help it meet its ambitious target of recruiting at least 5,000 donors.

For more information about Cheek Swab Month or bone marrow donation in Singapore, please contact BMDP at +65 63271344.

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Written by

Felicia Chin

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