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Updated 2020/5/15 16:26:29
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Medical professionals may be skillful at saving lives, but patients are often better at teaching people the value of love and life.
Give Life a Chance - A Father’s Day Finally Came True
Dream Father’s Day Photo
Dream Father’s Day Photo
“I wanted to bear a child so that my husband can be a father” - because of this simple wish, Mrs. Lin insisted on giving birth to a son, Little Lin, with thalassemia major against the opposition of her relatives. Before giving birth to Little Lin, Mrs. Lin had to abort a fetus due to thalassemia major. Seeing her husband’s heart-ranking disappointment, Mrs. Lin knew how much he longed to be a father. On the forth month of pregnancy of Little Lin, he was again diagnosed to have thalassemia major. This time they decided not to back off. “I want to give the baby a chance, and I hope all parents give their baby a chance.” Mrs. Lin finally gave birth to Little Lin in 2009, hoping that someday he could be saved by umbilical cord blood transplantation.

After Little Lin’s birth he had to shuttle between the hospital and home for blood transfusion every month. “With a son like this I could not celebrate Father’s Day after his birth like other fathers do.” Mr. Lin would take a day off to keep Little Lin company the day he received blood transfusion: “I could not share the pain he suffered, I only hoped I could be around when he was in pain.” Finally a matching umbilical cord blood was found in the Health Bank for Little Lin. During the following month Little Lin was hospitalized for transplantation. Lin had to work so Mrs Lin, during her 8-month pregnancy, took care of Little Lin in the disinfection room. Lin visited his son after work but he could only see him and his wife outside of the window, that was when he suffered most – he felt for them both from the bottom of his heart.

All their efforts have been repaid. The transplantation is successful and stem cells have been working well in Little Lin’s body, he does not need to receive blood transfusion any more. Now, half year after the transplantation, he only needs to visit the outpatient clinic for follow-up check. With a healthy daughter born to Lin this year, he has a family full of laughter. The most wanted present for Lin’s Father’s Day is that Little Lin calls him ”Papa!”

Presently the only cure for thalassemia major is transplantation of body fluid or blood that contains stem cells, which includes bone marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood. The best candidates for such transplantation are healthy siblings, but the matching rate is only about 30%. Because umbilical cord blood transplantation can reduce the reaction of graft versus host disease (GVHD), with the help of reduced intensity conditioning, complications and deaths after transplantation are lowered, and the transplantation between non-relatives are increased. Recent studies have shown that the transplantation of non-related umbilical cord blood is as effective as transplantation of stem cells from relatives. But long-term effects still await further observation.
A Concert of Love
A Concert of Love Photo
A Concert of Love Photo
A special concert was held on June 20 in 2011 at the Lounge of the Second Medical Building in Taichung Veterans General Hospital. The singer, Lan Zi-Qiang, was a cancer patient. He was found to have liver cancer in February 2011. Since the tumor was unresectable he was treated by embolism but his health continued to deteriorate. On the sick bed he often thought of the words in Rod Stewart’s song “Have I told you lately that I love you?” They reminded him of what he wanted to tell his children. So he expressed the wish to hold a concert. The hospital agreed and his friends organized the concert to honor his wish. Many of his old friends and relatives came to attend the concert from other cities.

Lan Zi-Qiang was a single father of 58. Divorced ten years ago, he had a son of 14 and a daughter of 12. He had lived on singing in restaurants since 20 years ago. For quite a long time due to the opening hours of the restaurants where he worked, he had to work until late at night and got up early to make breakfast for his children. Recently he relied more on playing guitar for wedding ceremonies and teaching guitar skills for his living. He could no longer work after he was sick, but the thing worried him most was his daughter, a tiny, fragile girl. “She was born with congenital heart disease, and had received surgery when she was only 3”. He could not set his mind off her. “Only after I got cancer did I realize that life is short and I should tell people that I love them when there is still a chance.”

In the concert he sang the song he loved most: “What a Wonderful World.” When occasionally he could not breathe easily, many of his friends off the stage sang with him together to give him a hand.

After he finished singing, his son and daughter went on the stage. Lan gave his daughter a card he wrote, telling her that he would always sing for her because he knew she loved it. “Remember that Papa would always love you no matter where you are.” His daughter hugged him with tears streaming down her face. His friends also went on the stage to hug him and send him their regards. Lan wished them all well in their later life.

Lan was grateful that he could “sing my gratitude to my good friends with my last strength.” He died four days later on June 24, 2011.

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