Organ donor's parents meet woman who received her heart

Organ donor's parents meet woman who received her heart
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

GEORGE TOWN - The moment Mark Kok Wah and his wife Ariess Tan met their new "daughter" Serene Lee, they burst into tears.

Lee, a 37-year-old part-time clinic assistant from Singapore, is the recipient of the couple's late daughter Carmen's heart.

"I am happy I have a daughter right now," Mark said during the meeting at Komtar yesterday during a "Gift of Life" programme.

The trio then hugged as family members and close friends looked on.

Among them were Mark's mother Lee Siew Ngor, 73, who had been against the decision to donate Carmen's organs after her death in 2015.

At the press conference room later, Mark and Tan took turns to listen to the sound of Carmen's heartbeat using a stethoscope before tearing up again.

"I don't usually cry in public.

"All of a sudden, I'm very delighted to hear the heartbeat. My daughter is not 100 per cent gone and this is proof that she is still around," said Mark, a 46-year-old building contractor.

He added that the heartbeat was "very fast".

Tan, 43, said she was happy to be able to hear Carmen's heartbeat after two years.

"I'm very touched and grateful to Serene for giving us this chance to hear Carmen's heart," she said as she wiped away her tears.

Mark had received a Facebook message from Lee last month, expressing her intention to visit them after she read his Facebook posting about his wish to hear his daughter's heartbeat.

Lee said she was glad to have summoned the courage to contact Carmen's parents.

"I have been struggling with my emotions these last two years.

"Daddy Mark and mummy Ariess have been very welcoming. I have always had this yearning to come to Penang.

"I thank God for giving me this new lease on life," Lee added.

Carmen, a former student of Penang Chinese Girls' High School, had secured a nursing scholarship at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singa­pore in 2015.

However, her joy was short-lived when she fell into a coma in July that year following an arterial rupture in her brain.

Carmen passed away three weeks later aged 18.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng described the reunion as a significant and touching moment.

"I think no words can express the wonderful gift left by Carmen.

"It lends meaning to her life, even though she was only 18," he said.

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