PETALING JAYA: It isn’t every day that one willingly parts with more than half of one’s precious organs to save the life of another, more so if that individual is not a close family member.
However for 27-year-old Sabahan Marie Christie Robert, that decision was made willingly since the recipient was a former teacher whom she loved dearly for his steadfast commitment to helping her pass Mathematics in school.
According to a news report in The Star today, Marie donated 61 per cent of her liver to 57-year-old Cheong Siew Hua, whose liver was failing due to a Hepatitis B infection.
Cheong’s situation became desperate when doctors turned down a previous donor, his own sister, due to health reasons.
It was at around this time that Marie got in touch with Cheong’s family and volunteered to donate part of her liver to save her beloved teacher’s life.
Speaking to the English daily, Marie talked of how she was indebted to Cheong, who she fondly called “Cikgu Cheong”, as he had worked tirelessly to help her become a better student in school.
“When I was 13, I always failed Maths but Cikgu Cheong always advised me, gave me extra classes, so I could at least pass with a C.
“When I took my SPM (examinations), I managed to score five As and four Bs. I passed Maths. That is why I will always remember his efforts to teach me,” she was quoted as saying.
Marie’s husband at first disagreed with her decision, but eventually relented when he saw how determined she was about donating part of her organ.
To Cheong’s family, Marie’s timely decision was heaven sent.
“She (Marie) is an angel to our family. She has made miracles happen,” Cikgu Cheong’s son Khung Merng said.
The transplant operation, costing RM690,000, was carried out at the Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital in Taiwan on April 27 this year, said the report.
Just a little over a month later, Marie returned to work as a sales consultant at the Hap Seng Group’s property division in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Marie’s employer also did their part in coming to Cheong’s aid by making a substantial donation towards the cost of the operation.
While Cheong’s family raised RM120,000, the Hap Seng Group pitched in the remainder as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). – FMT