GEORGE TOWN: The first thing that came into Mark Kok Wah’s mind when his daughter Carmen was declared brain dead on Tuesday was to donate her organs.
“I could not fulfil her dreams of becoming a nurse but at least I could fulfil her wish,” he said.
Mark, 44, said Carmen decided to become an organ donor at the age of 16 although she was too young to do so then.
“I find relief in knowing that even in death, she has managed to save eight lives in Singapore,” he told reporters at his daughter’s wake at their home in Taman Hutchings here yesterday.
“One recipient had waited for 11 years. Her kidneys have gone to two people,” he added.
Eighteen-year-old Carmen collapsed suddenly on July 3 at Singapore’s Nanyang Polytechnic, where she was studying nursing on a scholarship.
The former Penang Chinese Girls’ High School student, who scored 8As in the SPM examination, fell into a coma due to an arterial rupture in her brain and died 25 days later.
Carmen is the only child of Mark and his wife Angie Ng, 44, who are also organ donors.
Mark, a building contractor, said his daughter had a heart of gold.
“Before she left for Singapore, we went to the Bukit Harapan orphanage in Sabah to hand out Christmas presents to the children there.
“When she was in primary school, she asked if it was okay to share her pocket money with a classmate who didn’t have food to eat,” he said while holding back tears.
Mark said he had wanted Carmen to become a civil engineer so that she could inherit his business but she was adamant about becoming a nurse to help people.
“She had plans to work in the Middle East and retire at the age of 40 to do charity work,” he added.
Mark said he had planned to sell his apartment here to fund Carmen’s tertiary education but she stopped him from doing so and managed to get the scholarship.
He told reporters waiting at the Penang International Airport for Carmen’s body to arrive from Singapore that the organs harvested from her daughter included her heart, kidneys and pancreas.
Ng said Carmen “was mature beyond her age”.
Carmen’s boyfriend of 10 months, Teh Liam Shaun, 19, remembers his late girlfriend as “very sweet and modest”.
“She always brushed away compliments. I thank her for the time she spent with me – they are priceless memories,” he said.
Among those who went to the wake yesterday was Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who gave a personal donation of RM1,000 to the family.
Carmen will be cremated at the Batu Gantong crematorium today, and a sea burial will follow in a week’s time.