Gift of comfort - and organs

KUALA LUMPUR - Jessie Cheah and Karl Ngun may not have the millions to give away to children who need liver transplants but they try to help in whatever way they can.

The couple, whose seven-year-old daughter Jodi went through a similar transplant procedure at the Selayang Hospital, said they helped families whose children were in the same predicament by sharing their experiences.

"When Jodi was admitted into hospital, her doctor asked us if we were willing to share what we went through with other families to help them understand their situation," said Cheah.

The 42-year-old was telling her story after a cheque presentation ceremony by Maybank Foundation to the Selayang Hospital's Liver Transplant Trust Fund.

Jodi was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a blockage of the duct that carries bile from the liver to the gall-bladder or small intestines, when she was three months old.

Although she had a procedure done to drain the bile from her liver, doctors said Jodi still needed a transplant.

"Initially, my wife wanted to give her liver but the doctors found her organ unsuitable. So, I was the next best option," said Ngun, who donated part of his liver to his daughter in 2006 when she was 18 months old.

"Now, we are leading a normal life and want others who are going through what we had to be able to have the same," added Ngun, thanking the hospital and Maybank for their financial assistance.

Crystal Yong, 27, who received a liver from a cadaveric donor in 2008, said she would also share her story as an organ recipient whenever there were organ donation campaigns.

"Now, I could work out at the gym, go shopping, have dinner with friends and watch movies. Before this, I had to stay indoors because I was always sick."

M. Parthiban, 23, who received a liver last year after a one-and-a-half-year wait, said his younger sister, pleased with the outcome, pledged to become an organ donor.

"My parents wanted to be donors but due to their health conditions they can't," said Parthiban.

"But my family and I are happy that through my sister, we can help save another person."

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