Saving Katherine: CityU cares

Grace Ho

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"A CityU graduate with blood cancer urgently needs our help. Are you willing to do something to save her life?" When Mr Henry Fock, Lecturer in the Division of Commerce, Ms Rebecca Chan, Senior Student Development Services Officer, and the Students" Union Executive Committee asked this question of the CityU community, they had no idea that the response would far exceed their expectations. Within two days they had mobilized more than 100 volunteers and held a blood test campaign in search of a suitable bone marrow donor to save Ms Katherine Leung. The campaign aroused wide interest on campus, in other local institutions and even in the media and resulted in 1,500 blood samples being takenN30 times more than the original target.

"Most of the people we contacted didn't know Katherine, a former student of mine. But each of them responded positively and rallied round to help. IOm very moved by their kindness," Mr Fock said. "It surprises me that so many people are willing to set a higher priority on another people's life than on their own business, and give their time and effort selflessly. They didn't do it out of self interest but entirely out of respect for life itself. This is the most important lesson we as educators can teach our students." Another of Mr Fock's former students, Mr Eddie Mak, didn't know Katherine until he visited her in hospital. He was greatly touched. "Katherine has a strong will. She is very courageous, too. Her body is weak, but she's full of hope. What's more, she also cares about the needs of other blood cancer patients. So IOm putting my best efforts into helping her," he said. Mr Mak designed a personal website for Katherine. On the one hand, the website was used to promote the campaign, on the other, it helped collect people's blessings and messages of support for Katherine.

Many staff and students came forward to the take part in the blood test during lunch hours or free time. Some alumni made special trips to campus after work to have the blood test. Doctors, nurses and volunteers willingly worked overtime. In addition, different departments and organizations generously supplied all the necessary manpower and materials required. Ms Chan, coordinator of the campaign, said she was very grateful for all the help and support for the blood test campaign. "I can see a united effort to save our alumna. Everybody cares for Katherine like a family member. Together we witnessed love and caring at CityU," she said.

The lyrics of a hymn go like this: "It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing . . ." That the Save Katherine Blood Test Campaign was so well received shows how one life can influence other lives. The spirit of caring and love shown by our staff and students deserves our respect. It also calls us to reflect upon the priorities in our lives.



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