14th January will always be a date to remember. It is now 7.08am as I typed this blog. It was a chilly morning a year before. I was alone in the hospital ward in Gleneagles Singapore, bathed and waiting for my family members to come accompany me to the operation theater (OT).
The hospital attendant came in first with a bed, intended for me to lie on it and then be pushed to the OT. I called my mommy who has arrived earlier yesterday from Ipoh, Malaysia and asked if she is coming. I felt so lonely then. The sky was still dark and the air-conditioning made this kialeng (afraid of cold) lady shiver a bit. The sight of the attendant with the bed was not welcomed as I have expected my family instead.
A year ago, I gave part of my liver away, 60% to be exact, to save a 13-year old girl. Her name was Lee An Qi (pronounce “Chi”). I was wanting to do something today. It was a day I wanted to celebrate the “victory” of conquering her illness which led to a liver transplant. It was a day that I gave new lease of life to someone. I even told her family that we are going to celebrate this day every single year, it will be our year of celebration and we should have dinner together.
Little did we know that she passed away only merely after 8 months of operation. It wasn’t that my liver failed in her – it was due to lungs infections.
I wanted to celebrate this day with a launch of a mascot for organ donation. Apparently, it seems to be difficult to get to the Ministry of Health for such approval. Or shall I say I did not try hard enough though. I didn’t want to mess with red tapes and protocol but just that it should be done in a correct way. However, seems like the people in the ministry did not buy in to the idea for now. So, I have decided not to launch it.
My objective was pretty simple, direct and some said, naive. I wanted to increase organ pledges in Malaysia, period. To cut the long story short, I will just do my work. Simple.
I find myself now more relaxed and taking my life easier, unlike last time I will fight my way through it to get things done. I told myself, since my intention is to get more organ pledges, I can slowly influence friends and family members to do it first. Eventually the news will spread and more and more people will pledge organs – and my objective reached. So, why mess with the ministry when I can do that myself? In the end, it will not worth my energy, time and effort so why not concentrate my full energy time and effort towards reaching my objective?
I appreciate friends who have helped me and a few even gave cash contributions which I should return soon. I will still maintain dortie.com with its blog and website but will not make it a hoo-haa until the time is right. I want to thank Anas for giving his advice, attention, energy and even getting his PA to help in this launch which never did launched!
Dortie, a mascot for organ donation, which is acronym for Donate Organ Today, Inspire Everyone! It was supposed to be a mascot for me and a website to accompany the book I am writing about my journey but I thought to bring it to the national level. And the naive me forgot everything about the red tapes with governments.
Anyway, back to January 14th. My Dad asked yesterday if I was launching Dortie. I said nope and just kept quiet. He solemnly look at me in my eyes, sighed and said, “If only An Qi was still alive, we should have celebrated today.” It was sad for me and my family. I am crying as I type this, it seems sad to me that An Qi passed on although I have always said that it is good for her. She has suffered bone cancer and then lungs infection, getting in and out the hospital for almost 2 years was stressful for her.
Did I regret or feel wasted? NO! In fact as a friend said, even giving life to another person for another minute will be very meaningful, what more she got 8 months.
But as much as I have saved her, she has given me much more! She has given back my life as I now stopped many organizations I joined and eventually focus on spreading organ donation awareness. I also gained my health back and time with family.
Our story has also inspired more people donating organs which saved even more lives. Our story will sooner or later inspire more people to pledge organs, more than what we think we could reach. Although not with us now, An Qi will surely be the person who has left a legend in helping promote organ donation awareness. And I will live with the mission to increase organ pledges so eventually our story helps save lives!