Asian America Daily - in under 5 minutes What's happening in Asian America? Get a daily email to stay informed, educated, and entertained.
A grateful student from Malaysia, who felt indebted to her former teacher’s kindness, gave the best gift one could ever give to someone: an extension of his life.
Marie Christie Robert did not think twice on donating a part of her liver to her beloved teacher, 57-year-old Cheong Siew Hua, when she found out that and there was no available donor. The teacher’s liver was reportedly failing due to a Hepatitis B infection, according to The Star.
The 27-year-old sales consultant’s decision to donate 61% of her liver to her former teacher came as a relief to Cheong’s family after the original donor, Cikgu Cheong’s own sister, was turned down by doctors due to health reasons.
“She (Marie) is an angel to our family. She made miracles happen,” said Khung Merng, the patient’s son. “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.”
Marie recalled that Cikgu Cheong helped her become a better student when she studied under him at SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin, in Penampang, Sabah, 14 years ago.
“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,” Marie remembered. “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.”
After seeking permission from her husband, Chin Chee Ken, Marie admitted herself to the Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital in Taiwan for the operation which took place on April 27th.
In addition to the liver donation, Marie, through the help of her company, Hap Seng Group, contributed to the payment for the balance of the hospital fees.
The company reportedly learned about Marie Christie Robert’s selfless deed on the local newspapers and extended their willingness to help.
Hap Seng Group presented a check to Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia to help Cikgu Cheong and his family settle the transplant fees which totaled RM 690,000, or $167,000. The family was only able to come up with RM 120,000, or $29,000.
“We thank Hap Seng Group for donating this huge amount of money to reduce our financial burden,” said Khung Merng.