Singapore

Organ donation in Singapore: Her daughter's death gave two children the gift of sight

Mum donates daughter's corneas after she dies of brain aneurysm. "A part of her will always be alive."

The sudden death of her daughter, who was pregnant with twins, hit her hard.

Despite being filled with immense grief, Ms Shireen Kumar, 53, was asked to do one more thing - help ease someone else's pain by donating her daughter's corneas.

Ms Shireen, who runs a kindergarten, said: "Although my child is gone, at least two other children get to see."

It was 7am on Christmas Day about three years ago when Ms Shireen, who lives in northern India, received a phone call from Singapore.

Her daughter, Ms Chandni Kumar Lal, 29, a Singapore permanent resident, was pregnant full-term with twins at the time, so she expected to hear good news.

"We thought there would be good news that the babies were coming early. But one phone call can shatter your life," she said.

That morning, her son-in-law, Mr Sharad Lal, 39, who owns a marketing communications agency, told Ms Shireen that her daughter had been taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital after a fall.

The doctors later told Mr Sharad that the fall was due to an aneurysm - an excessive localised swelling caused by the weakening of the arterial wall. Aneurysms may remain silent or rupture, causing serious problems and even death.

Ms Shireen and her husband immediately booked a flight to Singapore and arrived at 4am on Dec 26.

The doctors had operated on Ms Chandni and managed to save her twin daughters on Dec 25. But she died the next day, and the twins the day after.

Ms Shireen said: "When we saw our beloved daughter's eyes close forever, we were all numb and in utter shock because it was so hard to grasp the situation."

An eye donation counsellor approached Ms Shireen and Mr Sharad to seek consent for the cornea donation. 

SHOCK

Still in shock, Mr Sharad said he agreed to the donation instantly without thinking too much.

He said: "I didn't think too much about it and said yes since it could help someone. The counsellor was extremely sincere and it definitely helped."

Despite her grief, Ms Shireen couldn't help but think of the people who would be blessed if she agreed to donate her daughter's corneas.

She said:"I'm not sure where that huge well of compassion came from because we were still numb and in shock at that point, but there was this feeling of intense 'purposefulness' to help some unknown child to live and see.

"Death will not snatch everything away... (My daughter's) eyes will live and a part of her will always be alive.

"I'll never regret anything. How can I regret two young lives leading 'whole' lives?"

UncategorisedhealthSingaporeCORNEASDeathcounsellorORGANSTRANSPLANThospitalHOTAFamilydonation