Subang Jaya Medical Centre Celebrates Survivors and Donors to Mark Over 900 Life-Saving Bone Marrow Transplants at Gala Dinner

Celebratory Gambit: Bryan Lin, SJMC Chief Executive Officer (left) and Rachel Woo, SJMC Chief Operating Officer (right), celebrating over 900 successful bone marrow transplants performed in the hospital.

Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC) hosted a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Gala Dinner for survivors, donors, caregivers, doctors and supporting medical teams to celebrate over 900 successful bone marrow transplants performed in the hospital, for both adults and children. In 1999, SJMC was the first private hospital to perform an adult haematopoietic stem cell transplant in Malaysia and to date, it continues to achieve significant milestones with having the highest number of bone marrow transplant cases performed by a private hospital in the country.

The Gala Dinner held was a night filled with inspiring stories, heartfelt gratitude, and a commitment to future advancements. It was part of SJMC's "Courage Over Cancer" series, honouring the resilience and strength of bone marrow transplant patients, their families, and the dedicated medical teams who make these life-saving procedures possible.

Bryan Lin, Chief Executive Officer of SJMC, highlighted the hospital's journey and dedication to patient care. “Tonight, we are celebrating the incredible stories of how bone marrow transplant has bridged lives. SJMC takes pride in being a pioneer by introducing stem cell transplants through the establishment of our Blood Diseases Centre and Blood Bank. Prioritising our patients at the heart of care, we hope to continue this journey, celebrating courage and celebrating life.”

Mahiyaa Bala Jeganath (second right), took the stage with her mother, Lavaniyah Ganapathy (second left) and Dr Chan Lee Lee, SJMC Consultant Paediatrician & Paediatric Haematologist-Oncologist (far right) to share their personal journey undergoing bone marrow transplant.

A Night of Celebration and Reflection

Uplifting stories took centre stage as panel discussions with both adult and paediatric BMT survivors and their doctors provided an intimate look at the personal journeys and triumphs of those who have undergone bone marrow transplants.

Eugene Yap, a 51-year-old patient treated by Dr Ng Soo Chin, Consultant Haematologist at SJMC, shared his moving story. Diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in 2016, Eugene experienced a relapse and underwent a haploidentical transplant with his half-matched brother. Reflecting on his journey, Eugene shared, “I am looking forward to catching up on the time lost with my family, going on a family trip, and looking forward to living life again”.

“While haploidentical bone marrow transplantation is a complex procedure, it offers a beacon of hope for patients who may not have a perfect match donor available. Advancements in medical technology and conditioning regimens have made it a viable and potentially life-saving option for a wider range of patients. It's rewarding to witness the resilience of our patients as they undergo this transplant and emerge with a renewed chance at a healthy life,” expressed Dr Ng Soo Chin.

The brave, 8-year-old Mahiyaa Bala Jeganath, also took the stage with her mother, Lavaniyah Ganapathy and Dr Chan Lee Lee, Consultant Paediatrician & Paediatric Haematologist-Oncologist of SJMC. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia (ALL) in 2019 and was found to have the high-risk Philadelphia chromosome, requiring chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy and an anti-cancer drug to achieve remission. After undergoing a bone marrow transplant from her 4-year-old brother, she now celebrates her one-year post-transplant mark. Reflecting on her experience, Mahiyaa remarked, “I went through many types of treatment in the past three years. Now, I feel brave that I’ve beat cancer”.

 The night also featured a video about Beh Bao Yuan, a 6-year-old girl diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) at the age of 4. She underwent a bone marrow transplant with Prof Emeritus Dr Lin Hai Peng, Consultant Paediatrician & Paediatric Haematologist-Oncologist of SJMC, while her 9-year-old sister served as her donor. Now, 2 years post-transplant, Beh Bao Yuan is thriving. “After the transplant, she can swim and do the things she loves,” shared her parents, relieved and happy.

Bryan Lin, SJMC Chief Executive Officer (second right) presents mock cheques to Lavaniyah Ganapathy (far left), Founder of Childhood Cancer Association Malaysia (CCAM); Emeritus Professor Dato’ Tan Chong Tin (second left), Chairman of Faith Hope Love (FHL) Care Hospice Malaysia; and Yeap Chong Wei (far right), National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM) Marketing Director, to aid the associations’ support to underprivileged BMT and cancer patients.

Commitment to Patients and Community

Continuing the evening with a collective passion for pushing the boundaries, Dr Alan Teh Kee Hean, Consultant Haematologist at SJMC, spoke on “Bone Marrow Transplantation: State-of-the-Art”. Dr Teh highlighted the latest advancements in BMT technology and practices. He shared that advancements in haploidentical transplants now offer outcomes comparable to matched unrelated donor (MUD) transplant, making them a viable alternative treatment.

SJMC recognised three associations, namely the National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM), Faith Hope Love (FHL) Care Hospice Malaysia, and Childhood Cancer Association Malaysia (CCAM), in a mock cheque presentation. The funds will help the associations continue their work to provide critical support to underprivileged BMT and cancer patients. This gesture emphasised SJMC’s dedication to community support and corporate social responsibility.

There were also various entertainment segments, including live performances, stand-up comedy by the well-known Douglas Lim, and exciting lucky draws. A portrait display in the foyer showcased the inspiring stories of eight adult and paediatric survivors alongside a donor, celebrating their bravery and resilience.

Dr Alan Teh Kee Hean, SJMC Consultant Haematologist, highlighted the latest advancements in BMT technology and practices.

Looking Ahead to the Future

“Bone marrow transplant is a highly delicate and complex procedure. Finding a perfectly matched donor is key to a successful transplant. Even with a matched donor, collecting sufficient healthy stem cells requires careful management. The future of bone marrow transplant is filled with exciting possibilities as we continue to expand our knowledge and harness the power of technology,” stated Mr Bryan Lin.

SJMC’s advancements include the introduction of in-house Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology, which allows for more accurate donor matching, thereby increasing the pool of compatible donors and improving transplant success rates.

SJMC senior management team with the heroes of bone marrow transplant including doctors, nurses, cancer care educators, counsellors and coordinators as well as pharmacists and laboratory technicians.