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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm heartbroken. Janet Liang has passed away :(

I awoke this morning to learn that one week after finally receiving her long awaited marrow/stem cell transplant, Janet Liang has passed away. You can read the message posted on her Facebook Group wall by Clicking Here. I am stunned and saddened by her loss. She had so much she still wanted to do. She wanted to be a teacher, raise a family and have the opportunity to live the long happy life so many seem to take for granted.

We met three years ago when she reached out for help in mounting her first online marrow drive effort. We emailed and talked on the phone from time to time. I helped her how I could, when I could, but each time someone dies I always end up feeling as if I wish I could have done more :(

There are no details given of what went wrong. Whatever the reason the thing that will forever haunt me is knowing that had a match been in the registry for her three years ago when she was first diagnosed, Janet's odds of survival would have been much higher. A transplant is an arduous procedure that can ultimately save a life but can also take what little time a patient has left through either GVHD (graft vs. host disease) or infection before the donor's marrow is able to begin producing new blood cells and a new immune system.

Rest in Peace Janet

Leukemia and so many other diseases are treatable illnesses with a transplant but until more people join the national and international marrow registries we will continue to lose our friends and loved ones this way. In honor of Janet please either join www.BeTheMatch.com to donate your stem cells to a patient in need or help me spread the word that donating is not the painful procedure so many seem to think it is. If you want to learn more just ask me. I'd be happy to explain how the donation process works in today's world of modern medicine.

Like so many others, Janet's legacy will be the awareness campaign that her friends and loved ones will pursue in her honor as a remembrance of her.

May you rest in peace Janet. You were courageous, open and honest throughout the hard fought battle you were forced to wage. During the process of documenting all you struggled with you did accomplish your goal of becoming a teacher. Not the kind you wanted to be, but you taught so many of us how to fight adversity, love, and live in the little time you had left.

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