“What Can The Rest of Us Do?”


A continuation of the last video on why is it not easy matching bone marrow like blood type.



Now, what does deadlifting have to do with cancer?

Well, what do people running marathons, white collar boxing and growing moustaches have to do with cancer?

Same intention, different movement.

(and we’re suckers for public sufferings?)


Every year, $$$  is raised for research on breast cancer and Movember foundation’s umbrella of prostate and testicular cancer.  These aren’t just fundraising efforts within the US but the movement is strong globally. 

Simplistic symbols yet catchy for any company, non-profit, schools and individuals to jump on something PINK and MOUSTAUCHEY

We get to contribute to research without thinking further down the big “C” word.

Testimony that together, we can do so much more.  Admittedly, we can also use a little push and shove.  As well as a bit of research to avoid funding controversies.

To my friends in Asia, what can we do?

First, let’s establish what you’re raising funds for?

Cancer societies allocate their funds throughout patient care, patient support, some to research and some not.  Whereas more specific associations devote a majority of their funds to research.  Big picture – curable treatments.

For relativity sake, I will use Leukaemia Research in this post.

Next, identify what we have on hand.

1) Does your country have active researchers for blood cancer?


Many people like to support something local and have a greater sense of unity.  However, if your local blood cancer association does not do active research, don’t force it.  Just donate to the ones who are and have been for decades.  These are 4 that were recommended by a Haematologist from Australia.

Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society (USA)

American Society of Haematology

European Haematology Association

Leukaemia Foundation of Australia.


2) Does your country have a bone marrow/stem cell donor registry?


Bone marrow/stem cell transplant is a common treatment for many blood cancer and other diseases.  It is, however, not an affordable treatment compared to conventional chemo for many especially for those who do not have family members matched as donors.  This leaves them with the option of finding an unrelated matched donor, where the cost of the search and stem cell shipment alone can break your bank.  Countries like the Phillippines, Mozambique (and more I don’t know of), do not have their own donor registry and rely solely on imported stem cells.  Those donors typically share similar ancestries even though they do not live in the same country as the patient. 

In simple terms, just because I am of Chinese ancestry born in Malaysia doesn’t mean my potential donor match pool exists only in Malaysia.  Malaysia is not made up of only Chinese people with shared census being Malay, Indians and indigenous tribes.  But, there are TONS of Chinese people all over the world!  I also feel for my friends and family who are of mixed races and have only 1-2 kids and siblings.  Knock on wood but if shit hits the fan and they need a donor match with 1 to no siblings as a chance, I sure hope that there are many mixed-race donors on the registry EVERYWHERE.

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In case you don’t know, donors and patients do not need to be in the same country throughout the transplant.  Medical advancements have made it possible for stem cells to be extracted in one country and shipped to another. 

So, you ain’t gotta fly anywhere.  You’re good.  You could save a life from a recliner while eating pizza 😉 



3) Do you organise non-profit events? In this case, you could run a fundraiser and/or a bone marrow donor drive.

Depending on the country, it’s more accessible to run BMD drives where saliva swabs are available. 

For example, Hong Kong’s BMDR is run by the Hong Kong Red Cross and they only do blood samples.  It is not possible for anyone to host a bone marrow drive unless they also host a blood drive, which is less accessible to run especially on HK island.  You need a place for the blood vehicle, x amount of power supply, space…etc. 

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia however, saliva swab samples may be collected and booths may be set up anywhere.  Viva Vertical had recently hosted an open studio day to raise funds and make registering easily accessible to interested donors.

Solely fundraising?

There are creative ways to do so and no gesture is too small. 

Just last weekend in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian circus production Cre Arts Asia sold the show’s professionally done photo albums with the majority of proceeds pledged for the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia.  I feel so honoured they chose to do that on my behalf.  Last month in Hong Kong, TRYBE organised an “open stage event” as a fundraiser for me.  We had an incredible line up of performers from various backgrounds.  At the end of the event, we had a member of the audience who came up to share his story being an AML survivor.  He was a bone marrow transplant recipient from an unrelated donor match, allowing him to be there watching his daughter perform.  It was an incredibly moving night.

Coming up this weekend in Hong Kong, this team of Tricia, Aussie, Ziggy and Helen will be running the Deadlift & Donate fundraiser collectively with the Warrior Goji family and my volunteering friends and family.  An open event for anyone in Hong Kong to demonstrate spirit in deadlifting while a fundraising page is set up for people to donate from anywhere in the world.  Proceeds will be split 4 ways to Aussie’s family and mine’s cancer fund aid and for research with Movember Foundation and Leukaemia Foundation of Australia.  Since we couldn’t get support for hosting a bone marrow drive, my family and friends will be volunteering their time to help answer questions pertaining to donating bone marrow and help you pledge donorship.  Big thanks to our friend Ivy at HK Red Cross for taking her own time out as well to furnish our team with the necessary information.    

Event details here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1950093141961707/

If you have connections wherever you’re at but kinda stuck in coming up with new fundraising ideas, there’s no harm in taking inspiration from other campaigns.  It all goes back to the same cause!

Here are some examples:

Tap Cancer Out (USA)

Tap Cancer Out unites the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community and empowers competitors to fight for more than just points and medals—they fight for those who are in the fight of their lives—and we’re helping Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation change the lives of children with cancer and their families by funding critical research grants and family services.

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Leukemia Cup Regatta (USA)

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Leukemia Cup Regatta is a thrilling series of sailing events that combines the joy of boating with the important task of raising money to cure cancer. Since its inception, the Leukemia Cup Regatta has raised millions of dollars for lifesaving research and patient services, bringing help and hope to patients and their families.

U.G.L.Y. Bartender of the Year (Australia)

Throughout this quirky competition, bartenders and patrons embrace the Understanding Generous Likeable You spirit, raising funds in fun and fabulous ways in their venues.

Over the past nine years these creative venues and bartenders have raised nearly $12 million to help blood cancer patients and their families. In 2017, more than 1,450 venues across Australia raised more than $1.7 million for the Leukaemia Foundation and the industry is aiming to raise nearly $2 million in 2018.

All of these events are do-able in Hong Kong and Malaysia given the popularity of the activities mentioned. 


4) Do you not wanna organise anything but want use your skills to help somehow? 

PR/Marketing: help non-profits get the word out on their efforts

Sales: help fundraising organisations recruit partners and sponsors

Illustration/Graphic: help fundraisers come up with catchy and memorable symbols to identify with

Accountants: we always need you

Journalists: help narrate the lead-ups, the during and the results

Videographers, Photographers: help the world see what humanity looks like

On-Site Volunteers: help sustain that human connection and be the inspiration

Food & Beverage: we always need you too

Social Media Influencers: you can keep taking the beating for being “just influencers who stand for nothing” or you can start hitting back and practice what you preach in your inspirational quotes. 


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