Tears flow as couple hear late daughter’s heartbeat again
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.
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.