Pianist's death fails to halt drive for donors

A campaign to recruit more bone marrow donors will go ahead today despite the death of the woman it aimed to save, pianist Janice Tang Wai-yi.

Tang, who was in her early 30s, died on Friday night after a 13-month fight against acute leukaemia.

Her plight has already encouraged 3,800 donors who signed up this month. And her family and campaigners said their donations could still save hundreds more waiting for life-saving bone marrow transplants.

'At the end, she was in pain. Her breathing was difficult,' her sister, Winnie, said yesterday.

But she said her sister did not die in vain because of the overwhelming public response to their appeal.

'I would like to thank all the people who supported my sister and who came for the blood test. At the last moment, many people came forward. I hope my sister can help other leukaemia patients to find a suitable donor.


'I still hope people will continue to support the drive for marrow donors.'

A funeral service will be held for Tang on October 5, at 7.30 pm at the Universal Funeral Home in Hunghom.

Tang graduated from the University of Hong Kong in 1997 and won several prizes and scholarships. She was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in August last year and underwent chemotherapy.

She had a relapse in May and appealed to the Marrow Match Foundation to find a matching donor, after her brother and sister were found to be incompatible with her tissue type. A search among the 38,000 entries in the Hong Kong marrow registry also failed, as well as overseas registry searches.


'The fight against leukaemia must go on,' the university said yesterday.

It will run a campaign to encourage the public and students to become marrow donors today and tomorrow, from 10am to 5pm at Lok Yew Hall in the Pokfulam campus.


Professor Raymond Liang Hin-suen, secretary of the foundation, said all too often they had seen patients dying without finding a donor.

'Only half of patients can find a suitable donor. It is sad. That is why we hope we can expand the number of marrow donors,' he said.