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Friday, January 6, 2012

If you think donating bone marrow is extremely painful, guess what? It's not.

Before you read any further please know this:

I'm writing this post because the end of the year brought plenty of bad news. I learned three Leukemia patients who had all achieved remission, had all relapsed, and about a little boy with Aplastic Anemia. All are in urgent need of an adult stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

Four patients, fighting for their lives. All need to find a marrow match.

Janet beat Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia last year attaining remission after many rounds of intensive chemotherapy. But the week before Christmas the 23 year old relapsed and now her doctors tell her she needs a bone marrow transplant. Her match could be anyone but will most likely come from someone of Chinese descent. CLICK HERE to learn why race matters.

Linda is the mother of one of my friends. Initially diagnosed  with Acute Myeloid Leukemia the weekend before Thanksgiving 2010, she spent seven months in and out of the hospital, and underwent chemotherapy treatments to acheive remission in June 2011. But just a day after Christmas she had relapsed and now needs a marrow transplant to save her life.

Kyle is four years old and needs a transplant because of Aplastic Anemia. Of the nine million potential donors in the national registry, none are a match for Kyle who is half asian half caucasian. His best chance of finding a match will be from someone who is also half asian and half caucasian.

Judy is a 22 year old Chinese Canadian suffering from her third diagnosis of Leukemia. She was first diagnosed at 9 years old, then again at age 13. Now at 22 years old, her doctors have told her the only treatment left is a bone marrow transplant because chemotherapy will no longer help her.

When I say you could save a life, you could be the match for one of these patients or someone else in need, does it make you feel like you want to try? Would you feel amazing if you were the one? I would feel happy and grateful that I could help. In fact I've been waiting to be a match since 1995 when I joined the registry. So far my phone hasn't rung but I'm hoping it will someday soon.

As you can see, Scott was is in no pain giving his PBSC donation.

So please, if you aren't in the registry will you consider joining? The process to join is so easy! Just 4 cotton swabs to brush on the inside of your cheeks and a short registration form.

1. You can CLICK HERE to order a test kit online. It will be mailed to you and you mail it back.

Only 70% of patients in need will find a match in time. The thing is it doesn't have to be this way. If more people would join the registry now, more patients could receive transplants immediately. That's my hope and goal in every effort I make to help raise awareness about the need for more people to join Be The Match, also known as the National Marrow Donor Program.

Most people don't realize it can take weeks to months to have your sample entered into the registry once you do send in a test kit. When you're helping a stranger, urgency may not be a huge priority. But when someone you love is diagnosed, and unfortunately the odds are someday someone you know will be, you will wish you had joined the registry sooner so that your sample could be available to them immediately.

Are you're already in the donor program? Does your age or health conditions prohibit you from becoming a donor? If the answer is yes but you still want to help please download, print and post this Helping Janet flyer with tear-away tabs on a public bulletin board at work, a grocery store, your local coffee shop, anywhere they'll let you. Today is also the last day of Be The Match's holiday fundraiser. You can donate dollars to help patients and researchers.

Download the high resolution, printable Flyer by CLICKING HERE

In her own words. Janet, who recently relapsed just made this video while receiving treatment at the hospital I wanted to share with you: Follow Janet on her journey of battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia in this "Day in the Life" (potentially could turn into a series!) homemade video. This is a real glimpse into her life and all she asks for is a simple request -- register to be a marrow donor

This is how PBSC works.

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