CABBIE Tong Ming Ming, 34, touched a chord in Singaporeans from all walks of life when The Sunday Times reported last week that he donated a part of his liver to a stranger on the brink of death.
More than 60 readers commended him online and in e-mail to The Sunday Times. The story garnered more than 400 "likes" on The Straits Times' Facebook page.
Two organisations are honouring him, BBC World wants to interview him, students want to meet him for a project and a dermatologist has offered help with his scar, free of charge.
But, perhaps most important of all, two adult children of liver failure patients who are considering donating a part of their liver, reached out to him for reassurance.
One of them, primary school teacher Lee Siew Kiang, 35, will undergo surgery tomorrow to donate a part of her liver to her father who has liver cancer.
Lee said she was aware of the risks of the operation and that her fate might not be the same as Tong's. "But he is a real inspiration. If he can do this for a stranger, I can do it for my dad," she said.
Tong gave his gift of life to civil servant Toh Lai Keng, 43, in March in a nine-hour operation at the National University Hospital. Both men are doing well.
The Government subsidised half the cost of the operation – as it does for all transplant cases involving Singapore citizens.
Toh will pay Tong's bills even in future for expenses related to the surgery.
Tong is the first living donor here to give a part of his liver to someone with whom he has no blood or emotional ties.
The Rotary Club of Singapore informed Tong yesterday that it is giving him a Good Samaritan award, which includes a S$1,000 (RM2,578) cash prize and a certificate.
Meanwhile, Allswell Trading, which represents energy drink Red Bull in Singapore, has made Tong a nominee in an ongoing campaign to identify and honour "Real Singapore Heroes", said the company's director Lam Pin Woon.
The bachelor at the centre of all this attention, meanwhile, lets on that he received more than 100 Facebook friend requests after the article. And although a tad "embarrassed" with the spotlight, he is glad his story helped spread awareness of living-donor transplants.
"Donors must evaluate the risks for themselves," he said. "But if my story can help save even a single life, I will be more than happy." — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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