Post readers rally for boy awaiting transplant

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2006, 12:00am

The Filipino toddler who needs another $270,000 to pay for a liver transplant at Queen Mary Hospital has brought out the generosity in Post readers.

Three have donated $7,100 through the Philippine Consulate after reading the story of 30-month-old Mark Jairus Mendoza, who will receive part of his mother Lyden's liver on Thursday week.

Mark was born with biliary atresia, an absence or closure of ducts that drain bile from the liver.

University of Hong Kong professor of surgery Lo Chung-mau, who will head the transplant team, said the boy also had recurring attacks of cholangitis or infection, adding urgency to the transplant.

As Mark is not a Hong Kong resident, the family faces a $1 million bill for the transplant. Before arriving, they raised $730,000, which has been deposited in the hospital's account. The family is living on just US$600 while here and staying in a shelter. By contrast, locals who have transplants pay a $50 admission fee on the first day and $100 a day after that.

Vice-consul Noel Novicio said people who wished to donate may go to the consulate's United Centre office in Admiralty and ask for the Assistance to Nationals Section (2823 8505 or 2823 8509).

'We have had so many callers, who have read the Post reports, asking how they could donate,' Mr Novicio said. 'One donor who wants to be identified as 'a well-wisher' gave $5,000 in cash. Another, who brought a clipping of the SCMP report entitled 'Priest joins appeal for Filipino boy needing liver transplant', gave a cheque for $2,000. Just now I received a letter containing $100 in cash with a short note and a prayer for Mark and his mother.' Other readers called to ask how to donate.

Mrs Mendoza said yesterday: 'I am so happy with the donations and the assistance.'