Man with end-stage liver failure finds stranger to donate organ through social media appeal

Image: Appeal for liver donation for Eddie Tan Beng Leong/Facebook
Image: Appeal for liver donation for Eddie Tan Beng Leong/Facebook

A local man named Eddie Tan, who had been suffering from a critical case of liver disease, has been given a renewed chance at life — thanks to a successful online appeal for help that his son Leslie Tan posted on Facebook in order to find his father an organ donor.

The younger Tan posted a plea for help on Facebook on May 22 earlier this year, in which he described his father as suffering from “end stage liver disease” — and that since his family had not found any success in helping him source a healthy liver replacement, the elder Tan’s condition was “progressively worsening by the day.” 

According to the post, the Tan children have “incompatible blood groups” and were thus unable to be donors themselves.

Leslie followed up with his original post by giving updates in the comments section, in which he detailed how his father’s situation was growing more dire and desperate. In one update, for instance, he wrote that “10 litres of water was trapped within the body cavity. He cannot eat, cannot drink, cannot sleep, and he is in perpetual distress and pain.” 

Within four days of the original post being up, a 35-year-old stranger, Lin Hanwei, came forward to volunteer as a potential donor.

Speaking to The Straits Times, Leslie said that it was “pure luck and coincidence” that Hanwei came across the appeal, saying that he “put up the post on May 22, and Hanwei contacted us on May 26. Besides Facebook, we also took to WhatsApp to share the message with our close friends and people who knew my father. Some of our friends also circulated the message on Instagram.”

According to the same report, eight prospective donors went in to conduct the blood tests, scans and health evaluations required to assess which would be the best candidate as donor, and Hanwei emerged as the best possible match.

Yahoo News Singapore reported that Leslie’s father underwent a separate eight-hour transplant surgery at the National University Hospital’s (NUH) National University Centre for Organ Transplantation on May 30.

In a Facebook post dated June 9, Eddie thanked his donor for giving him a chance to continue to be there for his two children and “live my life with my family to the fullest.”

“I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me a second chance at life. We are all truly humbled by your courage and are truly blessed by your precious gift of life,” he wrote, as well as thanking his team of doctors and nurses at NUH who had seen to the success of his organ transplant.

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