Friday, July 12, 2013

How Being Asian (or Black) Can Save a Life

Act #193: Get a cheek swab.

This is Nina. She is a mom.  She is Asian-American.  And she is dying.  She has stage 4 lymphoma that has spread to her brain and her only hope of living is to find a bone marrow less than a month.  The problem is that Asian and Pacific Islanders are among the lowest numbers of bone marrow donors in the National Registry. Of the 9 million potential donors registered with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), only 7% are Asian.  Even fewer (4%) are mixed race.

How can you help?  Share this with your friends and family.  If they don't fit this donor profile themselves, surely they know someone who might.  It's worth a shot.  You can also help by getting typed at a recruitment center:
A quick cheek swab, a few minutes of your time, and you will find out if you are eligible to save not only Nina, but anyone suffering from blood cancers.  I joined the registry in 1997 right before my African-American supervisor died of leukemia.  African-Americans also make up only 7% of the NMDP. 

Every year, 12000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases like leukemia or lymphoma, for which a marrow or  umbilical cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor may be their best or only hope of a cure.  About 70% do not have a matching donor in their family and depend on finding a match with the NMDP.
To learn more about Nina's journey, please visit  To help efforts to increase and diversify the donor pool, please visit or

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