Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
I unfortunately come to you all in a time of need. For those of you who are not yet aware, a year and a half ago my mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and has been fighting it ever since. After 4 different chemo therapy treatments, she has become chemo resistant and the chemo is no longer effective. My mom now needs a bone marrow/stem cell transplant in order to save her life. My mother is working in tandem with the "Be The Match Registry" where we are trying to find potential marrow donors. However, it is very hard to find a match because the match-typing is VERY specific and we are now searching far and wide to find potential donors! I hope you all will put this at the top of your priority list and register as soon as humanly possible with the marrow registry as part of the "Be The Match" program. You could be saving my mother's life or somebody else's who is facing the same terrible disease. The letter below is from my mother and details her situation a bit more and how the "Be The Match" registration process works. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your help.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
Since being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December 2007 you have all asked me the same question: “How can I help?” In the past, I replied that other than your love, support, prayers and friendship there was not much you could do. Now, however, my circumstances have changed and I have a different answer to your question. You can help me – and others like me – in the most meaningful way by potentially giving the gift of life – your stem cells or bone marrow.
After relapsing in January 2009 and after receiving four different chemotherapy regimens, I am still not cancer free. I have become chemo-resistant so chemo is no longer a long-term option to keep me alive. I now need a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor (unrelated meaning not from a sibling - unfortunately my sister Vivian was not a match). If I receive such a transplant, I could actually be cured!
Being a donor has never been easier. The vast majority of donors (about 80%) donate their stem cells through a process called peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation. The process is similar to donating plasma. It is non-surgical and outpatient. I HAVE PERSONALLY DONATED STEM CELLS VIA PBSC (When the doctors thought I would be eligible to donate to myself). THE ENTIRE DONATION TOOK 4 HOURS. I HAD NO RESIDUAL EFFECTS.
In order to be a POTENTIAL DONOR, you must first REGISTER. You only become a donor if you ultimately match with someone who needs your stem cells. It is EXTREMELY difficult to find matches between those in need with those in the Registry. Hence, the more people in the Registry, the better the chances of finding matches for cancer patients.
You can potentially save my life and others like me by registering online between June 8 and June 22 to become a donor in the Be The Match Registry (formerly the National Marrow Donor Registry). The first 259 people who register in this timeframe will be able to register forFREE using the promotion code below. After that, there is a processing charge of $25.
Registering to be a donor is easy and is done online. Please follow these simple directions:
Enter promotion code AK01287 when prompted (ignore reference to entering credit card info - the small print indicates that the fee is $0 as a result of entering my promotion code)
Complete the registration questionnaire (it is a series of demographic and health questions to determine if you qualify to be in the registry – for example, you must be between the ages of 18 -60 to be in the registry).
If you qualify to be in the registry, you will receive a swabbing kit via US mail from the Be The Match Registry. All you need to do is swab your cheek with the enclosed swab and return it immediately in the postage-paid envelope. That’s it. You are then in the registry and you may be contacted in the future if you are identified as a potential match for me or someone else in need of a transplant.
IF YOU DO NOT QUALIFY BASED ON AGE OR HEALTH, OR YOU HAVE ALREADY REGISTERED, YOU CAN CONTINUE TO HELP ME AND OTHERS BY FORWARDING THIS LINK (marrowregistry.blogspot.com) TO YOUR ADULT CHILDREN AND OTHER FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS . YOUNG MEN MAKE THE BEST DONORS AND ARE THEREFORE ESPECIALLY VALUABLE TO HAVE IN THE REGISTRY. THEREFORE, PLEASE ENCOURAGE YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS TO FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO THEIR FRIENDS, INCLUDING FRAT BROTHERSAND SORORITY SISTERS.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you in advance for helping to potentially save my life or the life of someone else who is walking in my shoes.
May you be blessed with good health and a long life.