PETALING JAYA: Medical graduate Jerome Chin, who donated part of his liver to his former primary school teacher, jokingly reveals that he once hated her.
The 25-year-old said Leong Fong Peng often disciplined him in the past but admitted that he was “not one of her best students”.
“She took her cane everywhere and used to discipline me quite a lot,” he said, recalling the time when Leong taught him at SJK(C) Kong Min in Kuantan from 2003-2004.
It was later that Chin realised Leong’s love and concern for her students.
“I hated the teachers who hit me but after I left school, I started to appreciate those who paid attention to me,” he said.
Chin found out about Leong’s medical condition in July from her daughter Krystal Teh, who was also his primary school friend.
At the time, the situation looked dire as eight volunteers, who had offered to donate part of their liver, were found to be unsuitable.
As he was waiting to start his housemanship, Chin told Teh that he was willing to be a donor.
His father had reservations about it but relented after Chin used his medical knowledge to explain the situation clearly.
“I told him I studied this, I know what I’m doing, and it will be fine. I think me being in the medical field helped convince him,” he said.
Chin, who studied medicine in China before graduating in 2017, said he recovered from a brief spell of jaundice after the surgery and expects his liver to regrow fully in three months.
Despite having donated 67% of his liver, Chin insisted he was not a hero.
“I was just the right person at the right place at the right time, I have done what I could,” he said modestly.
After the transplant surgery on Sept 6 conducted by the National University Hospital in Singapore, Leong was doing well until she was re-admitted to the intensive care unit for coughing up blood.
Having run up a bill of nearly S$300,000 (RM942,000) for her treatment, she has only S$90,000 (RM280,000) left to raise but now the amount needed is expected to be much higher due to her recent complications.
Nirvana Foundation has stepped in with a RM100,000 contribution.
Those who wish to help can donate via account holder Yayasan Nanyang Press at the Hong Leong Bank account number 001-001-81032.
Donations can also be made at http://yayasan-nanyang.org/ftools/modules/form_builder/published/donation.php , by also writing “Leong Fong Peng” in the comments section.