Time is running out: Mum and son search for liver donor by handing out flyers on streets

Time is running out: Mum and son search for liver donor by handing out flyers on streets
PHOTO: Facebook/Give him a hug

A woman and her 15-year-old son have been giving out flyers on the streets in recent weeks, hoping to find a suitable liver donor for him.

Vincy Lee told Shin Min Daily News that her son, Boon Heng, is suffering from sclerosing cholangitis, a chronic liver disease

When he was five, Boon Heng was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis. He underwent a liver transplant in 2017 at the National University Hospital and had been doing fine till recent months.

Lee described her son's condition as a "ticking timebomb", for his liver disease also caused him to develop portal hypertension (high blood pressure in the portal vein that runs through the liver). 

"If this goes on, his veins might rupture, and he'll vomit blood and die. The doctor told me that he should have a liver transplant as soon as possible," said the 44-year-old mum. 

"I thought he'd be able to grow up healthy after the first transplant, I didn't expect this to happen," Lee said. 

As she had donated a part of her liver to her son years ago, doctors deemed her an unsuitable donor for the second transplant. 

Her husband is also unsuitable as a donor due to his age and smoking habits. 

Their other relatives' blood types are also incompatible with Boon Heng's, shared the desperate mum

Lee, who is a permanent resident in Singapore, also told the Chinese daily that she's been searching for a suitable donor for her son since July last year. Their family, who are originally from Malaysia, also moved to Singapore to facilitate their search. 

The woman also set up a Facebook page to share updates on her son's condition and started giving out flyers around Clementi and Jurong West last week. 

"We'll continue to give out these flyers, but my son can't go out every day because of his condition," Lee said, adding: "His blood type is O+, so only people with the same blood type are suitable for the liver donation." 

When Shin Min spoke to Boon Heng, he revealed that he hasn't been able to go to school for the past six months and misses playing badminton with his friends. 

Due to his condition, Boon Heng's stomach is swollen and he has a smaller stature than his peers. He also has to wear a face mask at all times to prevent any viruses from entering his body. 

He's only been able to have online lessons, and communicate with his classmates and teachers over social media. 

"I hope I can recover soon, I miss my school and my friends," Boon Heng said. 

Raising funds for liver transplant 

Besides looking for a liver donor, Lee also needs to raise funds for the transplant, which is estimated to cost $125,000. The family will also have to pay for the donor's $35,000 surgery bill. 

Their family have since started an online fundraising campaign. 

"I used to be a clerk but I quit my job to take care of my son. His father is a technician. We've almost depleted our savings, so our finances are strained," said Lee. 

Members of the public who would like to make a donation can do so via this Give.asia page


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