SF Hep B Free Support Group

Mark Lim: Victim at Age 30

By Joel Engardio
Driving my boyfriend home from chemotherapy, we couldn’t believe the ad on the bus in the next lane. We had to read it again at a red light.

The ad warned that one in 10 Asian Americans are infected with hepatitis B and don’t know it — with a quarter of hepatitis B carriers at risk of dying from liver cancer or failure.

Nothing about my boyfriend’s illness made sense until we saw that ad.

At 30, Mark Lim was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer caused by hepatitis B. He was fit, never drank and symptom-free until the day he doubled over with excruciating stomach pain.

Yet Mark was Asian American. Why didn’t his doctors know about the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University, the sponsor of the bus ad?

The Asian Liver Center was just a basement storage room converted into a cramped office, a symbol of how little the medical establishment had paid attention to hepatitis B in Asian Americans when we visited in 2001.

The director, Dr. Sam So, was a renowned liver transplant surgeon on a mission to end an epidemic of hepatitis B. He called it a “silent killer” of Asian people worldwide.

Mark visited Dr. So but it was too late for treatment. Yet Mark tried to save other lives by sharing his story in the media. After Mark died, I traveled with Dr. So to testify at the CDC in Atlanta.

Dr. So was able to inspire a diverse coalition of philanthropists, politicians, business leaders and students to champion the cause.

The center Dr. So started now has its own building on the Stanford campus and a new generation of activists are making progress.

The bus ad my boyfriend and I saw announced that one in 10 Asian Americans have hepatitis B. Today, the number is one in 12. There is hope.

By Joel Engardio
在多年前載我男朋友接受化療完開回家的路上,有一輛公車剛好行駛在隔壁車道,轉頭一看
,我們簡直不敢相信我們在隔壁公車上看到的廣告,我們還特別在紅燈等待時仔細再看一遍
,廣告看板的數據寫著:每10位亞裔美國人中就有一位感染B型肝炎但卻不自知,而這些B型
肝炎患者中又有1/4的病患死於肝癌或是肝衰竭。

當我們看到這個數據時,我跟男友一切都如恍然大悟,Mark 在30歲的時候被診斷得到肝癌並且
被告知無法選擇手術根治,我們便不懂為什麼,因為他一直保持良好的身材,沒有過胖過瘦的問
題,也從不飲酒,身體上也無出現任何不適症狀直到有一天他的胃感受到劇烈的疼痛。
Mark是位亞裔沒有錯,但為什麼他的醫生並不知道在史丹佛大學裡有專門設置的亞裔肝臟中心呢
?更別提這個肝臟中心還是這個公車看板的贊助商。
這間亞裔肝臟中心在2001年我們去拜訪時還只是一個擁擠辦公室的地下室儲藏間改建而成,一般
人路過根本不會注意到,Dr. Sam So是這間亞裔肝臟中心的主管醫生,以移植肝臟手術而聞名,
並且他當醫生的宗旨就是希望可以終結B型肝炎的感染,他甚至稱B型肝炎就是亞洲社會中的“
無聲殺手”。
我與Mark當時聽聞Dr. Sam So之後便去拜訪他但無奈Mark的症狀發現的太晚,所有治療方式對
他都已太遲,Mark想要經由媒體分享他的故事以提醒更多的患者,Mark去世後,我便與Dr. So一
起到亞特蘭大的疾病與管理防治中心做Mark的見證。
Dr. So成功地啟發不同的慈善家,政治家,商業領導人士以及學生一起捍衛此疾病。
Dr. So如今在史丹佛校園有著自己的新一代防治中心大樓並有顯著的成效發展。
公車上的每10位亞裔美國人中就有一位感染B型肝炎的廣告距我跟Mark看到已經10年之久,
如今的數據已是每12位亞裔美國人中就有一位感染B型肝炎,雖然差距不多,但我們看到了
希望。

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