Three-year-old Makoda Suen had passed away last Thursday from an acute form of leukemia. She was the poster girl for the B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation's latest awareness campaign for bone marrow donors.
Makoda Suen had passed away three months after a worldwide campaign was launched to find the 3yr old a blood or bone marrow transplant. Makoda's parents, David and Joyce Suen, had announced the death of their daughter yesterday. They said in a press release, 'Surrounded by family and friends, Makoda died on Thursday, peacefully in our arms. In our eyes, she is a true fighter who never gave in to her disease or wavered from her determination. We could not be more proud.'
Makoda was diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer known as acute myelogenous leukemia, a year ago and had undergone at least five rounds of chemotherapy. After confirmation of the results in March, her story was made public with an urgent call requesting for donors for blood or bone marrow. Speaking to the media at that time the doctors explained that the best chance for finding a match would be in Asia.
The doctors explained that this was so as Makoda's parents in Vancouver had adopted her from China two years ago. It was reported that the little girl was abandoned near a government office in Chongqing, and that the identity of her biological parents was not known.
The family in April, with help from the Ming Pao newspaper in Vancouver, had broadcasted her face across television screens in China with hopes of finding her relatives. It was reported that people from across Canada, China, and Taiwan had come forward in large numbers to get their blood tested. Dr. Kirk Schultz, the acting head of oncology at B.C. Children's Hospital, had reported that more than six million potential blood donors were checked internationally.
Mr. Suen when talking to the media, about the probable news on the identity of the their daughters biological parents having been located, said, 'Nothing has been confirmed. We can't get too excited.'
But sadly two months later, with no match yet, it was too late.
The members of her family said in their statement yesterday, 'In her year-long struggle, we saw our daughter endure circumstances that no child should need to go through, we are touched that the community wants to show their affection and sense of loss.' The family have also kindly requested the community to continue their support to help find a cure for leukemia, and said that their daughters smile and infectious laughter will live forever in their hearts.
The doctors have explained that the type of leukemia she had is very rare in children. Explaining that around 100 children out of the 800,000 living in British Columbia have cancer, Dr. Schultz said that of those 100, only around half a dozen would probably have the same leukemia, as did Makoda.