Since December 2016, Clarence Chan has been disgnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and is currently under chemotherapy treatment. This type of leukemia affects the myeloid cells. Myeloid cells give rise to red blood cells, white blood cells and platelet-producing cells.
Hello, I’m Clarence. I will never forget my 53rd birthday on the 27th of December 2016. My wife and I were at Assunta Hospital where I was a regular blood donor. For the first time, the hospital refused to take my blood because they said my blood cells were below the normal levels. Upon further tests they told us that I might have Leukemia, or cancer of the blood.
To say we were shocked would be an understatement. “What, lah you. How come you’ve got leukemia?” my wife said in typical Malaysian fashion almost in jest. I just shrugged my shoulders and shook my head. I don’t smoke or drink, am not hypertensive, diabetic or obese, yet I could be stricken with the big C. Deep down, both of us knew what this could mean.
Since there was no haematologist in Assunta Hospital, I was referred to Dr. Mohd Haris Fadzhillah, the consultant haematologist in Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC).
At first my condition was diagnosed as Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).
But before long it developed into Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I was given the first round of chemotherapy that involved intravenous infusion of bag after bag of chemicals, each of which took 22 hours to finish. This went on for 7 days. At the end of those 7 days, my immunity fell to zero.
Hence, I caught 2 infections – a fungal (candida krussei) and a bacterial (e. coli) infection. These infections gave me high fever and chills. The doctors in SJMC fought hard for 2 months to rid me of the infections while continuing the chemotherapy.
Imagine having a fever for 2 months! Every 4-5 hours the fever would return, I might start to tremble or shake due to chills and had to take paracetamol (Panadol) pills.
There were many days I was alone in the hospital room, praying. Was I haunted by thoughts that I would die? Yes, of course.
Did I think I might never see my 5 children grow up, get married, have families and become a grandfather? Yes, definitely.
Was I terrified my family could not survive financially without my income? Yes, for certain.
Yet each time such thoughts came, I said to myself, “This is NOT my reality, this is NOT my future!”
But it was (and still is) a tremendous struggle for me, both mentally and physically. I shed many tears in prayer during those lonely months.
Sometime after the first round of chemotherapy, in view of the impending bone marrow/stem cell transplant, Dr. Haris took blood samples from my sister and me to do a Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) test to see if her blood matches mine.
Sadly, her blood was only 30% matching. Not enough for transplant.
After the success of chemotherapy treatment, Clarence is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant (BMT) to survive the effects of leukemia. Unfortunately, since Clarence’s only sibling – his sister - does not have a matching bone marrow thus Clarence’s bone marrow/stem cell transplant will have to come from an unrelated donor whose blood matches his.
Clarence’s testimony continues:
Then came the shocking news. To find a donor with matching blood and bring it into the country costs about USD35,000 (equivalent to about RM150,000)! And this cost is not covered by medical insurance. I was devastated.
There were two possibilities where this donor may be found – the local Malaysian registry or the international registry of donors. The local registry produced no matches whereas the international registry has been producing some matching donors.
Dr. Haris has been contacting a few matching donors at a time. I am praying that the best matching donor will be found and he will consent to donate. Then the donor undergoes a physical exam and his blood cum stem cells is taken and sent to Malaysia.
At the point of my writing, we are doing all we can with God's help to raise the funds for a bone marrow/stem cell transplant that can literally save my life. With God all things are possible.
The fund of RM150,000 donation to be raised is to help with the cost of bringing in this matching blood into Malaysia, this cost is not covered by insurance; it has to be borne by Clarence to survive.
OUR DONATION APPEAL LETTER - ON BEHALF OF BROTHER CLARENCE CHAN HEAN HUAY, AGED 54, WHO IS SUFFERING FROM LEUKEMIA.
Brother Clarence Chan Hean Huay, aged 54 (on 27 December 2017), is a Member of our SIBPJ Church in SMCC, Petaling Jaya, since June 2010. He and his family returned to PJ, after Clarence had served 23 years as a Pastor of two different churches – Full Gospel Tabernacle (FGT) and SIB Skyline, from 1986 to 2009.
From 2010, both Clarence and his wife Wai Yen worked as Administrator and Principal respectively in Chempaka AOG Learning Center PJ (under a church called Chempaka AOG). Clarence stopped working on contracting leukemia. Wai Yen continues her work as the Principal of the Center. Clarence has been diagnosed by Subang Jaya Medical Center as suffering from Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) since December 2016, and is currently under chemotherapy treatment by Dr. Mohd Haris Fadzillah, Consultant Physician and Haematologist, SJMC.
Chemotherapy is the major form of treatment for leukemia. This drug treatment uses chemicals to kill the cancerous leukemia cells. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow (which produces blood cells). AML is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. This type of leukemia affects the myeloid cells. Myeloid cells give rise to red blood cells, white blood cells and platelet-producing cells.
Clarence Chan and wife Wai Yen and their five kids at SJMC 10 August 2017 – waiting for Clarence’s second chemotherapy
treatment. He successfully completed this treatment, and is now resting at home, taking his medication etc.
We also take the liberty to enclose a copy of the letter dated 24 July 2017 from Dr Mohd Haris Fadzillah bin Abdul Rahman, Consultant Physician and Haematologist, Subang Jaya Medical Center, about Clarence’s condition and confirming the need for USD35,000 to bring in matching blood for the bone marrow/stem cell transplant.
Since Clarence's sister's blood does not match his, Dr. Haris has to search the local and international registries of donors for a suitable match. The local registry search has produced no matches. The international registry has produced a few matching donors.
However, the cost to bring in the blood of this matching donor is estimated at USD35,000 if the donor is from a regional country like Taiwan or Singapore. If the matching donor is from the US, the cost is too high and has to be rejected. We are confident God will provide a matching donor from a regional country.
On top of this transplant, Clarence will have to be on immuno-suppressant drugs. Immuno-suppressant drugs greatly decrease the risks of rejection, protecting the new organ and preserving its function. These drugs act by blocking the immune system so that it is less likely to react against the transplanted organ. Immunosuppression is required for the lifetime of a solid organ transplant to prevent rejection. Estimated costs of such drugs and other drugs Clarence will be required to take: USD14,000 a year. Clarence and his wife Wai Yen, through their friends and associates, have collected RM89,500 till today – a long way to go to save his life! (“……the righteous gives and does not hold back” Proverbs 21:26). Your generosity will be blessed, and the Good Lord will repay you for your kind deeds.
All the money collected will be received by an independent third party, SIBKL church. Once the target is achieved, the money will be fully channeled to brother Clarence to pay for the expenses of procuring the matching blood. We thank you most sincerely in anticipation, and look forward to your urgent RM assistance to save this good man of God, and
give him the chance for a new life for himself and his family.