Tears as cou­ple again hear late daugh­ter’s heart­beat

The New Paper - - NEWS - AU­DREY TAN, IN GE­ORGE TOWN (PENANG), THE STRAITS TIMES

Heart re­cip­i­ent meets par­ents of her donor af­ter track­ing them down

A beat­ing heart, strong and even, res­onated for 30 sec­onds, then their tears started to flow.

They were lis­ten­ing to a record­ing of the heart­beat of their daugh­ter Car­men Mark, an 18-year-old nurs­ing stu­dent who died in Sin­ga­pore from an ar­te­rial rup­ture in her brain two years ago.

Yes­ter­day, they had the chance to meet the Sin­ga­porean woman whose chest their daugh­ter’s heart is now beat­ing in. It was a day of os­cil­lat­ing emo­tion for Car­men’s Malaysian fa­ther Mark Kok Wah, 46, and his wife, Ms Ariess Tan, 43.

They were full of sobs and half-smiles at their home in Ge­orge Town.

Car­men’s or­gans were do­nated af­ter she died, and her heart went to Ms Serene Lee, 37, who had heart fail­ure.

Ms Tan, a fi­nan­cial con­sul­tant, broke down in tears, while Mr Mark, a spe­cial­ist con­struc­tion ap­pli­ca­tor, said: “I al­ways knew Car­men was still alive.”

Ms Lee re­ceived Car­men’s heart af­ter the Nanyang Polytech­nic stu­dent died sud­denly on July 28, 2015.

Car­men’s heart, liver, kid­neys and pan­creas went to four pa­tients.

FACE­BOOK

On Aug 4 this year, soon af­ter Car­men’s sec­ond death an­niver­sary, Ms Lee got in touch with Mr Mark on Face­book af­ter see­ing his posts about want­ing to hear his daugh­ter’s heart­beat again.

She in­tro­duced her­self and of­fered to ful­fil his wish.

Al­though the name of the donor is kept anony­mous, Ms Lee, who works part-time as a clinic as­sis­tant, had con­nected the dots and tracked the cou­ple down af­ter read­ing about Car­men’s death.

She recorded the heart­beat, and Car­men’s par­ents got to hear it ahead of Ms Lee’s ar­rival.

Five hours af­ter hear­ing Car­men’s heart­beat again, the cou­ple met Ms Lee at a press con­fer­ence or­gan­ised by the Penang state govern­ment.

Both women rushed to hug each other with loud sobs and stayed in each other’s arms for more than a minute, while Mr Mark looked on.

Ms Lee will now spend the weekend in Car­men’s room, in the home where the teenager’s ukulele and pho­to­graphs still line the con­sole ta­bles and her pair of Toms slip-ons lies neatly out­side the door.

au­dreyt@sph.com.sg

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