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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tami is going home but other are not as fortunate.

Those of you who follow the website and blog I maintain for my cousin Tami (who recently received a stem cell transplant to replace her defective bone marrow) may recognize both Aram Markosian and Nick Glasgow. Both had leukemia and both needed stem cell transplants to save their lives.

Aram Markosian was 24 years old when he passed away last month.

Aram Markosian, had been diagnosed with Leukemia and needed a marrow match to save his life. Aram was an active Armenian in AYF, Homenetemen & AGBU. He was a fun loving young man who was loved by all who knew him. Aram's need became critica during the summer of 2009. His cancer had progressed to it's final stage. My understanding is that Aram received a 7/10 marrow transplant, a far cry from the 10/10 that could have saved his life. Instead following his transplant Aram faced numerous complications. Sadly Aram passed away on September 16, 2009.

My deepest sympathies to Aram's family and friends. It is heartbreaking that he could not be saved.

This is a plea to all of Armenian descent to please attend any "Be The Match" donor drive, join any mail-in test kit campaign or join the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry at www.abmdr.am

DO NOT WAIT until another Aremian person is diagnosed and told they need a transplant to take action. Their window of opportunity to locate a match can be weeks or months after diagnosis so waiting to join could mean waiting until it's too late to help a patient in need.

Nick Glasgow was 28 years old when he passed away this week.

Nick Glasgow did receive a stem cell transplant but it took several months to locate a match and then prepare for the procedure. Complications post transplant combined with a relapse, the reappearance of the leukemia cells, proved to be too much and Nick passed away two days ago, at home with his family around him. CLICK HERE to read the blog post about Nick and his fight for life.

Please be inspired by their deaths to take action. Make a difference. Spread the word and change the world. Simply telling others about them will help others to learn about blood cancers and the National Marrow Donor Program. Every person who joins the registry as a potential donor increases the odds that newly diagnosed patients will find a marrow match immediately instead of months or years later. Or never at all :(

Remember that testing is pain free and only requires a short registration form and 4 cotton mouth swabs that are brushed along the gums. Most people don't know that 70% of donations are now given by blood harvesting of stem cells in a procedure called PBSC and no longer come directly from the bone. For the 30% who are asked to donate by marrow, average sized needles extract marrow from the back of each hip bone and not the spine. Donors are given anesthetic so there is no pain during the harvesting process. A lot of myths about pain seem to discourage many people from becoming donors so I only ask that you learn about the current processes before making a decision not to join the National Registry.

On a good news front, Tami continues to recover from her transplant, given by an anonymous donor, and is being discharged from the Seattle transplant hospital today! YAY! Her recovery will continue for at least another 9 months but she will be back with her family and hopefully no major complications will occur.

Tami and her Auntie at a Mariners baseball game last month.

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