Tearful reunion as organ recipient 'brings heart home' to donor's family
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Ariess Tan (left) listening to her late daughter's heart beating in Serene Lee's chest while Mark Kok Wah (right) looks on. â Picture by KE OoiGEORGE TOWN, Sept 15 â It was a tearful moment for a Penang couple who finally got to hear the heartbeat of their only child again, two years after she died.
Mark Kok Wah and his wife, Ariess Tan, have been yearning to hear their late daughter's heartbeat after she d ied and her heart was donated to a Singaporean recipient.
Today, their wishes came true when they met with the heart recipient, Serene Lee Shu Lynn, 37, at the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's office in Komtar today.
It was an emotional moment as the couple took turns to listen to their daughter's heart beating inside Lee's chest through a stethoscope.
Lee and Tan broke down in tears as all three hugged each other after the couple heard the heartbeat.
"I feel delighted to finally hear my daughter's heart beat after two years, this means my daughter is still surviving, she's not 100 per cent gone, she's still around," Mark said.
He said this is the reason why he wanted this meeting with Lee to be publicised as he wanted to spread the message to others that organ donation is a blessing to both sides, the donors and the recipients.
"My mother had objected to us donating Carmen's organs after her death and we don't blame her because my daughter was her precious grandchild," he said.
He said there is a taboo against organ donation and something must be done to get rid of this taboo.
"We want to publicise this meeting with Lee because we want to change people's mindset about organ donation and we hope this reunion with her and our daughter who continues to live in her, can create an impact," he added.
Carmen was studying nursing at the Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore when she suffered an arterial rupture and fell into a coma in July 2015. She died three weeks later.
Lee said after the heart transplant, she had wanted to meet her donor's family and thank them for the gift of life they had given her.
"After my heart transplant, I had this yearning in my heart to come to Penang. I really wish to bring Carmen's heart home to let her father hear her heart beat," she said.
She said it took a lot of courage for her to connect with Mark and Tan, whom she addressed as Daddy Mark and Mummy Ariess, but she finally contacted them when she saw Mark's Facebook posting about his yearning to hear his daughter's heart beat again.
"I saw his posting about travelling 14,000 miles to hear her heart beat again, I cried when I read his post, he doesn't have to go 14,000 miles, I will fly here to them," she said.
She contacted Mark in August and arranged the meeting today.
"It took a lot of courage on my side to send them a message and today, I've fulfilled what had been tugging at my heart for two years. I finally brought her heart home today," she said.