Sadly, I haven’t posted in more than two months, but today, I happily have a little free time to write a post. I also had a minute to log into Facebook and it was there that I saw a status update that inspired me to write this post.
Autumn Truong, a friend and colleague of mine, had a Facebook status update and link that caught my attention. She, along with many others, are helping spread the word about Nick Glasgow, 28, of Fremont, CA who is fighting for his life and is in need of a bone marrow donor.
In March, Glasgow developed a sore throat and over the course of a week began experiencing body aches and other symptoms, which then led to him being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a blood cancer. In hopes of going into remission, Glasgow underwent two rounds of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, he is not in remission and is in desperate need of a donor match.
However, finding that match is not easy because it’s like finding a tiny needle in a gigantic haystack. To further complicate the matter, donors have to be of the same ethnic background, and even that doesn’t guarantee a match.
The U.S. Marrow Registry has 6.6 million registered donors. There are 10 million registered donors worldwide, with just over 506,000 of them being Asian American. Ethnic minorities only have a 30 percent chance of finding a donor, whereas Caucasians have up to an 85 percent chance. There is a shortage of Asian, Asian American and other ethnic minority donors worldwide, which is why it is important to spread the word and help close the gap on the shortage of ethnic minority registered donors.
Glasgow is ¼ Japanese and ¾ Caucasian so he needs to find a donor match who is also of mixed Asian-Caucasian descent. The donor pool among Asians is small, but as Glasgow’s friend Stacy Morales said in a recent KTVU news story about Glasgow’s need to find a donor, “it only takes one.” She’s right. And that one person could be you or me.
Regardless of your ethnic background, you could be a match for somebody who is in need of a donor. Get involved and save a life.
Be The Match Marrowthon
From June 8-22, The National Marrow Donor Program is having the “Be The Match Marrowthon” where people across the country can register to become a donor at the numerous donor drives happening during the 15-day marrowthon. The process to become a donor is simple, either have a kit mailed to you or attend one of the many donor drive events during the marrowthon. The test itself involves getting the inside of your cheek swabbed with a cotton swab, which is then sent to a lab for testing. If you are a match, in many cases, the transplant itself can be done through blood.
But you don’t need to wait until the Be The Match Marrowthon because Glasgow and many others are in need today, so visit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to learn more on fighting blood cancers. For those of you who are of Asian descent, visit the Asian American Donor Program.
Project Michelle PSA 1 - Are You Ready to Be a Hero?
Michelle Maykin’s Fighting Spirit
Last June, I wrote about Michelle Maykin, a 27-year old UC Berkeley graduate and San Francisco Bay Area resident, who is also fighting for her life. Her fighting spirit is truly inspirational and I hope with all my heart and soul that she beats it and wins her fight against AML.
Maykin’s fight against AML has been long and arduous. She’s experienced many peaks and valleys during her two years and three month-battle against AML, which many of us have followed through her blog. Her latest post is once again another glimpse into her world, and clearly shows her courage and strength.
According to Maykin’s May 13th post, she shared with us that her doctor recently gave her three choices:
- Re-induction chemotherapy in hopes she can go into remission and have a second transplant
- Take Sprycel to see if the medicine can extend her life (it’s not a long-term cure, rather a drug to extend life)
- Do nothing, monitor the disease and enjoy the time she has left.
In reference to the third option, she said her doctor “used words like ‘vacation,’ ‘trip,’ ‘cruise’ a bunch of times.” Her response to that, “I would rather die fighting than throwing in the towel.” Maykin’s courage and fighting spirit is truly an inspiration to us all.
To learn more about Maykin and to follow her story and read the latest, visit the Project Michelle blog.
Light The Night Walk
There are many ways to help, including participating in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk, which is a nationwide campaign and upcoming walk “to pay tribute and bring hope to people battling cancer.”
If you find yourself compelled to help, please do. Be a marrow donor, help raise awareness by sharing Glasgow’s and Maykin’s stories with your family, friends and co-workers, volunteer, donate money, and/or come out this October for Light The Night Walk. And remember, a little help goes a long way and you or someone you know just may be that 'perfect stranger' who can save a life.
VIDEO: Nick Glasgow and Carole Wiegand say, "Thank you!"
Pictured in above photo at top of post: Nick Glasgow and his mom Carole Weigand (left) and Michelle Maykin (right).