TAWAU: Inspired by spirited teenager Tee Hui Yi, who died weeks before the fifth anniversary of her heart transplant, 173 trainee nurses and instructors have pledged to become organ donors.
The trainee nurses from Tawau Community Nursing College decided to be organ donors during an Organ Donation Awareness programme held here.
They said they were inspired by Hui Yi, 19, who had been equipped with an external mechanical heart while waiting for a donor with hopes of chasing her dream as a kindergarten teacher.
However, Hui Yi, who was Malaysia's first double heart transplant recipient, died on Tuesday, a few days away from anniversary of her second transplant.
Paying tribute to the miracle heart girl, Regional Transplant and Procurement Manager Dr Cheah Phee Kheng said Hui Yi inspired his team to constantly work towards signing up more organ donors.
"Looking at how she tried to live her life to the fullest is our inspiration to give more people like her this opportunity to live their dreams.
"My team would like to extend our deepest condolences to her family."
Dr Cheah, who was giving a lecture on "Organ and Tissue Donation in Malaysia", said it was an uphill challenge to create public awareness on organ donation due to vast differences in culture and beliefs in Sabah.
For this year, there has yet to be an organ donor from the state although there had been a total of 28 in the whole country, he added.
Those who wish to pledge their organs are encouraged to sign up online at www.agiftoflife.gov.my or by calling 1800-88-9080.
Those who wish to contact the Regional Transplant and Procurement Management Unit (Sabah) to organise activities and programmes, or to ask questions or share their opinions regarding organ donation, can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The awareness programme was part of the state-wide Organ Donation Awareness Roadshow conducted by the Regional Transplant and Procurement Management Unit of the Sabah Health Department.