A letter to friends and colleagues
By Yumi, Kirk and Eiki LEUNG
26 May, 2015
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
As you already know, Kwok passed away on 25th May 2015 after hospitalized for 2 and a half months. The disease hit him suddenly and swiftly. It was autoimmune disorder, and later identified as CADM anti-MDA5 antibody positive. As it was a rare disease and identification of the maker (=antibody which attacks his body) was late, he couldn’t receive the right treatment and died with bacterial infection in the ICU of Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong. I am very sad to discover later that it is a rather well known autoimmune disorder in Japan and Korea, and there was a treatment if they could identify it in an early stage. Kwok was treated only with pulse steroid treatment and being admitted to the ICU on the next day. Because his immune system was suppressed by steroids, he got sepsis and multi-organ failure caused by bacterial infections. He was a fighter, though. He became critical three times before his death and survived each time. All doctors and nurses were surprised to see his strong will to live. Although he couldn’t win his final battle, two children, his brother and I were at his bedside holding his hands and toes, talking to him, and spent a whole day with him before he departed. We thanked him to be a wonderful husband and father.
Kwok and I have been married for almost 30 years. Many people say that marriage has ups and downs, but we didn’t experience any downs. Kwok put me and children first all the time and it has been a wonderful 30 years with him. He was the most generous person I’ve known and it was fortunate for the children to have a father whose advices had never been wrong.
Kwok celebrated his 57th birthday in the ICU. It was special because his birthdays in Lunar and Gregorian calendars coincided, and fell on the same day. Although he was not a Buddhist, he respected Zen Buddhism philosophy．It was another coincident that he passed away on Buddha’s birthday. His mother said it suits him as he was named after one of the famous Buddhist monks.
Children and I are very sad and sometimes feel Kwok’s death is surreal. We are wondering how to move on without him, now. I hope time will be our medicine. I always thought that everything happens with a reason. It doesn’t make sense to me now, but I hope that I can find the reason for Kwok’s early departure later in my life. We thank everybody’s support during this two and a half month, especially to Dr. (Michael) Bond who became our correspondent to Kwok’s colleagues in the world, and Michael (Morris) who helped us getting a second opinion. Both comforted me very much with words and photos. And I thank many other friends who encouraged me by emails and phones. Your messages are delivered and heard by Kwok. They became his energy. Thank you. I am a bit sad that I will see you less in conferences from now on, so please let me know if you are coming to Hong Kong. Thank you very much for your thoughts and prayers. We are sorry that we couldn’t bring Kwok back.
We started to plan his funeral today, and found his will kept by his brother. Kwok wants to have a small funeral only for family and close relatives. We respect his choice and we are planning his funeral according to his wish now. I hope you understand.
Yumi, Kirk and Eiki LEUNG
On the next day of Kwok’s departure on 26 May, 2015
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