Stem cell donation often misunderstood — SCCS


Hee (second right) with Marriot’s Cluster Public Relations manager Jane Goh (second left), SCCS assistant secretary Shirley Ariffin (left) and regional administration coordinator Audrey Asim after the press conference.

MIRI: You’ve probably often heard that donating blood can save life.

But do you know that you could do the same by donating stem cell to those suffering from chronic blood-related diseases like leukaemia?

“It is believed that stem cell donation is still very rare and is often misunderstood amongst the locals here. In fact, it is understandable that people tend to fear what they don’t understand – in this case, the blood stem cell donation,” Jocelyn Hee, president of Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society (SCCS) told a press conference yesterday.

“One of the major differences between blood stem cell and blood donation is that finding a matching stem cell donor for patients suffering from blood-related diseases is much harder. Therefore, as an NGO that works closely with cancer children and their family, our effort is to encourage more people to register as stem cell donors in the hope of finding matching donors and to be able to help these young patients,” said Hee.

As of September this year, she revealed, there were 29,300 registered volunteers in Malaysian Stem Cell Registry (MSCR) and of the number, only 572 donors were of Sarawakian ethnicity.

Hee pointed out that the increasing number of patients suffering from blood-related diseases such as leukaemia, aplastic anaemia and lymphoma   each year has resulted in greater demand for blood stem cells transplant for the treatments.

“Therefore, we hope that the coming Stem Cell Donorship Drive that will happen on Nov 5 (Sunday) at Miri Marriot Hotel and Spa could shed some light on stem cell donation to the people here,” Hee said.

The event, which is the third leg of the state-wide campaign starting from Kuching to Sibu before coming here, is a collaborative effort between SCCS and MSCR.

MSCR is a collaboration between Institute for Medical Research (IMR) and Ministry of Health and National Cancer Council (Makna).

MSCR is essentially a database of volunteers in the Malaysian community who are open to donating blood stem cells to matching patients undergoing blood stem cells transplantation.

Hee, on  behalf of  SCCS, expressed her gratitude to Marriot’s ‘Spirit to Serve’ – a corporate social responsibility project that is dedicated to help the community – for sponsoring the venue and tea breaks on the event day.

The talk will be covering topics on stem cell donorship and the process of becoming a donor.

Apart from these, a mini-exhibition will be displaying SCCS’s effort in helping cancer children as well as information on stem cells.

As seats are limited, interested members of the public are encouraged to contact 014-893 0591 or email [email protected] for reservation.

For more information, log on to SCCS website at and Facebook page at