Scoring Goals against Leukaemia, Lymphoma and other Blood diseases
Singapore, June 27 2013 - The Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) scored a winning goal today as Antoine Viterale, the young addition to the youth team of Spanish RCD Espanyol de Barcelona, signed up as a “Youth Ambassador” to support the urgent call for more people to sign up as bone marrow donors. With 55,000 registered donors today, this is insufficient to meet the needs of Singapore’s complex racial community and through Match For Life, the charity has committed to recruit another 20,000 donors in the next 3 years.
According to Antoine, “I’ve been very lucky with my share of talent and the support I have received. It’s even more exciting that this success allows me to give back in some small way. Being aware of the number o f people affected by blood diseases and the possible cure through bone marrow transplants made me want to support the Match for Life cause.”
Antoine, who had opportunities to train with top European Under 15 teams such as Newcastle United, Juventus FC and Cardiff City FC, met another football fan; local transplant survivor Reza, who was first diagnosed with leukaemia at age 11, and his worst fear was that he would be unable to play football again. Thanks to the BMDP, he was able to find a donor in Singapore, and he is now fully recovered and not only back on the field but busy pursuing his studies.
The 17-year-old international player and the 16-year-old football enthusiast also met Singapore’s Courts Young Lions midfielder Muhammad Shamil Bin Sharif (21), to show Football Association of Singapore (FAS)’s support of Match For Life.
“FAS is pleased to be involved in this cause, together with our players we strive to be involved in social initiatives and the fight against leukaemia is one to be recognised,” said Rikram Jit, Assistant Director with the Football Association of Singapore.
What most people don’t realize is how easy it is to register as a donor, and possibly save the life of a patient. All it takes is a swab of each cheek to provide a sample of tissue, which is analysed and the results go onto the local volunteer donor register. Only when a donor is identified as a match for a patient, he or she is asked to actually donate their bone marrow.
“In Singapore, 6 people are diagnosed every day with a potentially fatal blood disease,” according to Jane Prior, President of the BMDP. "A Bone Marrow or Blood Stem Cell transplant can offer a possible cure but they must first have a matching and willing donor. The first option is a sibling match but failing that, doctors turn to the BMDP and our promise is to find a matching donor for every patient who needs a life-saving transplant".
With Singapore’s population growing and living longer, the number of cases of leukaemia and other blood disorders is increasing with more patients opting for a transplant as the preferred treatment. This is placing a growing demand on the BMDP to have suitable donors on the local register in order to ensure that each patient who needs a transplant is given that second chance.
About the BMDP
The Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) is a non-profit organisation responsible for building and managing Singapore’s only register of volunteer donors who are willing to donate their bone marrow to save the lives of patients with leukaemia and other blood diseases and who need a transplant to survive. The BMDP also provides a 365-day service to the hospitals to search the local register and, if necessary, extend this around the world in order to find a matching donor for their patients. So far almost 500 patients have been given a chance of survival through the work of the BMDP and the need grows every year as transplants become a routine treatment for these most common forms of cancer. For more information visit www.bmdp.org
Under “Match For Life”, the BMDP recruits new volunteers onto Singapore’s only register of bone marrow donors. This entails public outreach and education into the various sectors including corporate, government and education; eventually leading to a one-to-one engagement to collect a tissue sample for HLA typing (Human Leukocyte Antigen).
Contacts for Media:
Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP)
Eric A. Ceret
PRecious Communications for BMDP
Phone: +65 – 9170 2470
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