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Vietnamese doctor celebrates rebirth at Tzu Chi center

2012/08/13 22:36:30

Taipei, Aug. 13 (CNA) The bone marrow donated through Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital in 2005 gave him a chance to be reborn, said Vietnamese doctor Huynhu Thanh Thuan Monday at an event celebrating the hospital's 1,000th bone marrow donation in Taiwan.

"Although to this day I still don't know who the donor was, this kind-hearted person is always in my heart," Huynhu said at the event organized by the hospital's Stem Cell Center.

Huynhu, a neurosurgeon, said he was devastated when he was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in Vietnam in 2005 at the age of 27.

His spirits were lifted, however, when he found a matching bone marrow donor with the help of the Tzu Chi Foundation's Vietnam branch. He received the transplant at National Taiwan University Hospital later that year.

The 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 since its establishment, including 1,000 in Taiwan, a milestone that was achieved this month.

Tang Hsiao-chin, in his third year at Tzu Chi College of Technology, was among the local recipients. Tang was diagnosed with aplastic anemia at the age of five and was prohibited from doing strenuous exercise due to his weakened immune system and low platelet counts.

He received a transplant when he was in high school, and he now can play basketball and also participated in a 10-kilometer run earlier this year.

Tang thanked his donor for being willing to help 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 misperceptions about donating bone marrow, including that it can cause paralysis and great pain.

In fact, donating bone marrow is almost like donating blood; it does not cause great pain and has no negative impact on the donor's health, the center said, urging more people to get involved.

The center now has more than 350,000 registered donors.

(By Hsu Chih-wei, Andrew Liu and Jamie Wang)