Alden Boon

Altruistic Donor Lin Dilun “Loses” a Kidney but Gains a Second Family



“It was the right decision.”

A seemingly-insurmountable hurdle soon presented itself. In October 2010, the ethics committee ruled “no” and the arrangement came to a halt. “Till now I have no idea why they said no. I was disappointed, naturally, but I just held out until six months later a meeting was reconvened.” Meanwhile, time was ticking. Bryan’s health debilitated: he had high blood pressure and suffered an infection of the peritoneum. Between 2010 to 2012, he was hospitalised for 20 times.

Fortunately, the ethics committee gave approval the second time around. However, because the validity of the medical tests had already expired, Dilun had to undergo all the tests once again.

Que sera, sera, they say, and that was the almost-carefree mindset Dilun had when he decided to go through with his decision. Any fear of death or medical complications was assuaged as he decided to leave it up to fate. As he lay reclined on the gurney and was being wheeled into the operating room, he felt nerves but mostly relief. “I was glad the transplant was finally going to happen.” The anaesthetic coursed through his veins, and when he regained consciousness four hours later, he was already in the recovery ward.

“When I woke up, my first thought turned to Bryan, who was still in surgery. His family was barred from meeting me at the hospital. I only met him later when he was in the paediatric intensive care unit.” Immense relief was what he felt at the first meeting. Today, seeing Bryan grow up and live the life all kids should have is his validation. “It’s how I know I have made the right decision.”

Dilun’s life quickly returned to normalcy, and he even found love shortly after his awe-inspiring decision. Here the dapper 30-year-old is with his beautiful girlfriend, Daphne Lee.
Dilun introduced his girlfriend Daphne to scuba diving.

A new outlook on life

Having gained a new perspective, Dilun started thinking about how he could make a real difference in his own way.  When the opportunity arose, he left his job in event consultancy and joined Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) as a facilitator. He got in touch with bone marrow donors and matched them with patients in need of transplants.

His own experience imbued him with a unique ability to ease the minds of donors. “A lot of people didn’t and still don’t understand bone marrow donations. We spend a lot of time explaining to them the procedures, and the minimal impact the transplants have on their health and lifestyles. It’s all about furnishing donors with information so that they can give informed consent — much like what my own transplant coordinator did with me.”

In March 2016, Dilin had to say goodbye to Oreo, to whom he was a "foster parent".

Dilun then joined SPCA as an animal inspector. His greatest joy was recusing a litter of kittens whose mother did not survive the labour. Along with Daphne, he raised and fed them by hand. One kitten survived to adulthood, and is now living with his former BMDP colleague.

But unlike Bryan’s story, not all of Dilun’s encounters had a happy ending. “Some of the animals we work with may die at some point, and sometimes their deaths come by our own hands, that is, euthanasia. It’s about accepting the hard fact that it is for the animal’s own good and welfare. Ultimately, we are minimising the animal’s suffering.”

Truly, such resilience is what makes a superhero.

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Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.