KUALA LUMPUR: Marie Christie Robert will always be a heaven-sent angel for the family of Cheong Siew Hua.
This is because, Marie, 27, donated 61% of her liver to 57-year-old Cheong, fondly known as Cikgu Cheong.
Cheong, whose liver was failing as a result of a Hepatitis B infection, had been searching for a donor.
His son, Khung Merng, 28, said Marie’s decision to donate her liver to his father was a relief to the family.
Doctors had turned down a previous donor, Cikgu Cheong’s own sister, due to health reasons.
“She (Marie) is an angel to our family. She made miracles happen.
“We could hardly believe it when she told us of her intention to become a donor because I don’t even know Marie personally although we went to the same school.”
Cikgu Cheong had taught Marie at SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin, in Penampang, Sabah.
Marie, who has a three-year-old son, said she was indebted to Cikgu Cheong for helping her become a better student in school.
“When I was 13, I always failed Maths but Cikgu Cheong always advised me, gave me extra classes so I could at least pass with a C.
“When I took the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, I managed to score five As and four Bs.
“I passed Maths. That is why I will always remember his efforts to teach me Maths.”
Marie said she was steadfast in her decision to donate although her husband, Chin Chee Ken, had asked her to reconsider.
Marie was admitted to the Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital in Taiwan on April 26 for pre-operation preparations for the liver transplant which took place the next day.
After 39 days, Marie was back at work as a sales consultant at the Hap Seng Group’s property division in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Yesterday, Marie and Khung Merng were present when the Hap Seng Group presented a cheque to Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia to help Cikgu Cheong and his family pay the balance of the fees.
Khung Merng said the total cost of the liver transplant was RM690,000 but the family could only manage to come up with RM120,000.
“We thank Hap Seng Group for donating this huge amount of money to reduce our financial burden,” said Khung Merng.
Hap Seng Consolidated Berhad’s Corporate Social Responsibility director Puan Seri Maimon Arif Patail said she only found out about Marie’s noble deed after reading an article on it in a local Sabah newspaper.
Maimon then contacted Marie and asked how she could help.
“Marie said, you don’t need to help me. I am okay, but she asked if we could help her Cikgu.”
After some discussion, the Hap Seng Group then decided to provide assistance to Cikgu Cheong’s family.
“This is a selfless sacrifice by our own colleague, she is part of the (Group’s) family,” said Maimon.
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