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Friday, March 8, 2013

Hey world: William Tse needs a marrow match

William Tse was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with a rare chromosomal translocation in January of 2013. William was born and raised in Singapore, educated at the University of Southern California, and is now living in San Francisco, CA while undergoing treatment. His rare form of leukemia is very difficult to treat and a Bone Marrow Transplant (aka Stem Cell Transplant) is needed.

William is of Chinese descent, so his best chance of finding a match is someone of Chinese or Asian descent because marrow is based on a chromosome match, not blood type. Very rarely patients do find a match outside of their own ethnic group so please don't not join the registry because you aren't Asian. Even if you aren't William's match there's a chance you could save the life of another patient in need as many never find a match in time.

The most common donation method
Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) is now the most commonly used donation method and is almost pain free for most donors. I've read the worst side effect is most commonly a temporary feeling of fatigue that lasts a day or two. You can read and see a donor's firsthand account of what PBSC was like because my cousin Tami's donor Scott took pictures and shared his story with The Flirty Blog.

This is how the donation process works.

Register to be a marrow/stem cell donor
 Here are some registries in various countries where you can sign up to be a donor.

William before and after his diagnosis.

These are 35 Cooperative Registries worldwide who work together to provide doctors with a larger potential donor pool to search from. If you live in a country with more than one registry program please make sure your sample will become part of the international database as more than half of all matches are made between donors and patients who live in different countries. CLICK HERE to view the Cooperative Registries on the Be The Match website or CLICK HERE and click on the country's name to view them with contact information and links to their websites.

The larger the pool, the better the chances are for everyone who needs a donor. Vince and Marvin (William's brothers) have already registered as donors for other patients and hope you will too.

If you can't register what can you do?
If (due to age, health, or the absence of a local registry program) you are unable to join the registry the next best thing you can do is help to spread the word about William's need and the unfulfilled need of the many patients searching for a match. Without them, they will die and that's horrible, heartbreaking, and (worst of all) avoidable for at least some, if not many of them.

There are lots of suggestions of how to help at MarrowDrives.org.

In the four short years I've been involved with doing volunteer advocacy work for Be The Match I have seen too many lives cut short. Some were patients I knew only because I followed their blogs or joined their Facebook pages. Others I knew more personally emailing with them and even talking on the phone. Each loss has been devastating and I've needed time to heal before jumping back in to fight for another patient. Please help me fight for William now. Each day that passes without a match being found threatens his very future.

To join the registry in the United States:

CLICK HERE to use a zip code locator to find a marrow drive in your local area that you can walk into to register.

CLICK HERE to order a home registration kit that will be mailed to you, you swab your cheeks and fill out a form then mail back the postage paid envelope.

You can also help by attending a fundraiser that benefits the National Registry like the AADP's Laugh for Lives Comedy night. CLICK HERE for the event details. What began as the Asian American Donor Program (a recruitment arm of Be The Match) has become a multi-ethnic donor recruitment organization. Why ethnic specific? It was desperately needed because Caucasians make up the majority of the donor pool so if you are of any minority ethnicity here in the U.S., please consider joining for William's sake and all of the other patients in need.

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