Accompanied by Mr Cheng Yu-tai, head of the Eastern Taiwan Office of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and several other local officials, Mr George Yeo and his wife and son first arrived at Tzu Chi’s Jing Si Hall in Hualien in the afternoon of 8 Jun to tour the exhibits and learn more about Tzu Chi’s missions and footprints around the world.
Thereafter, the procession, under the company of several Tzu Chi staff and the CEO of Tzu Chi’s Medical Mission, headed to Jing Si Abode to visit Master Cheng Yen to give thanks to her founding of the Tzu Chi Stem Cells Centre (previously named Tzu Chi Bone Marrow Donor Registry) which saved Mr and Mrs Yeo’s son.
“I have great admiration towards Master Cheng Yen and Tzu Chi volunteers for all the kind deeds they did for the masses,” said Mr Yeo.
The couple’s youngest son, Frederick, was diagnosed with childhood leukemia when he was three. As his other children were found to be unsuitable bone marrow donors, Mr Yeo tried searching for compatible donors in both Singapore and Hong Kong but was unsuccessful. Just when all hopes were lost, a compatible match was found in the Tzu Chi Stem Cells Centre in 2004 and after a transplant in the US and several months of gruelling therapy, Frederick, then aged 10, finally overcame the illness. He has since grown to become a healthy 17-year-old who aspires to become a doctor to heal lives.
When Mr Yeo and his family expressed their deep gratitude to Master Cheng Yen and Tzu Chi, the Master replied, “People who have means and help those who are in need are the happiest in the world. I am extremely pleased to see that your son has recovered. Let us give our blessings to all bone marrow donors and recipients.”
The Master further shared with the family that after the 3/11 tsunami disaster in Japan this year, Tzu Chi volunteers have visited the affected areas several times and distributed blankets and hot food to the survivors. And today (8 Jun), with the assistance from the local government, Tzu Chi volunteers are going into the ground zero in Iwate Prefecture to deliver cash assistance to the survivors on behalf of the 39 countries, including Singapore, which raised funds for Japan following news of the disaster.
Mr and Mrs Yeo also contributed their donation to the Foundation during the meeting with Master Cheng Yen to express their appreciation to Tzu Chi and admiration to its volunteers.