Bone marrow donated through Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital in 2005 gave him a chance to be reborn, Vietnamese doctor Huynhu Thanh Thuan said earlier this week in Taipei at an event celebrating the hospital’s 1,000th bone marrow donation in Taiwan.
“To this day I still do not know who the donor was, but this kind-hearted person is always in my heart,” Huynhu said.
Huynhu said he was devastated when he was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in 2005 at the age of 27.
However, his spirits were lifted when he found a matching bone marrow donor with the help of the Vietnamese branch of the Tzu Chi Foundation. He received the transplant at National Taiwan University Hospital later that year.
The hospital’s Stem Cell Center, originally founded as a bone marrow donation center in 1993, became a stem cell center in 2002, and it now also handles cord blood donations.
The stem cell center said it has handled 3,000 bone marrow donations around the world, including 1,000 in Taiwan, a milestone that was achieved this month.
Tang Hsiao-chin, a student at Tzu Chi College of Technology, was among the bone marrow recipients. Tang was diagnosed with aplastic anemia at the age of five and could not do any strenuous exercise due to his weakened immune system and low platelet counts.
He received a transplant when he was in high school, and he can now play basketball and participated in a 10km run earlier this year.
Tang thanked his donor for helping a stranger and said he has decided to study health administration to be able to help others in return.
The center said some people have misconceptions about donating bone marrow, such as that it can cause paralysis and pain.
Donating bone marrow is almost like donating blood; it does not cause pain and has no negative impact on the donor’s health, the center said, urging more people to get involved.