Singapore

4 Slovakians receive organs of NTU student

Less than a year before his tragic accident, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) student Justin Tan told his family he wished for his organs to be donated upon death.

His family made sure his wish was carried out after Mr Tan died in a freak accident in Slovakia on Nov 25.

His organs have been donated to four patients in the country.

In a statement sent yesterday by NTU, the family said: "Although Justin's body has been cremated, we know that a part of him continues to live in the bodies of four people.

Justin may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. Somewhere in Slovakia, his heart is still beating.Undergrad Tan Choon Yong, classmate of the late Mr Justin Tan

"We hope that Justin's gift to them will inspire them to live fully and with the same positive spirit that our precious son has always had."

Mr Tan, 23, was driving alone in the midst of a storm in Slovakia, on the way to a ski resort, when a falling tree hit his car.

The third-year mechanical engineering student, who was on an exchange programme in neighbouring Czech Republic, was found unconscious by a rescue crew.

He never regained consciousness and died two days later.

Soon after the doctors certified him brain-dead, his parents agreed to donate his heart, liver and two kidneys to four patients.

His father, Mr Mitchel Tan, said: "Less than a year before the incident, he told me and (his younger brother) Malcolm that he would definitely donate his organs upon his passing.

"In Slovakia, I was thinking to myself, if I wanted to donate Justin's organs in Singapore, it would be a challenge to transfer the organs back home with all the emergency equipment and the long travel time.

"So I thought, I will do it in Slovakia instead... I'm sure, and I believe, that Justin was here for a reason."

Eighteen of Mr Tan's classmates, who were also on exchange in the Czech Republic, made a 400km train journey to see him for the last time in the hospital in Slovakia.

Fellow NTU mechanical engineering student Tan Choon Yong said: "Despite the distance, the group of us felt it was necessary to send Justin off on his final journey.

"I believe Justin lived his life to the fullest and had zero regrets. Justin may be gone, but he will never be forgotten.

"Somewhere in Slovakia, his heart is still beating."

The School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is planning a memorial service next month for Mr Tan's schoolmates and professors to pay tribute to him.

Mr Mitchel Tan added: "I am proud of what Justin had achieved in life, and I am heartened to be able to fulfil his last wish. He will be missed by so many, he has touched many lives in a short time." 
- THE STRAITS TIMES

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