Bone Marrow Drives for All!
I have learned so much about life through this experience.
It is relatively easy to sign up to be on the National Bone Marrow Registry. If you are an ethnic minority, it's free. If you are caucasian, it will cost the lab fee, in NY, it's $40, but it is tax-deductible. It's free for people of color because there aren't many of us signed up. If you are white, they put your info into a computer and as many as 20 - 30 names might come up for a possible match. If you are not white, there may well be none, and then you are in Christine's shoes of needing the kindness of a stranger, or long lost relative to come forward to volunteer to help. Call 1-800-marrow2 to find out where to register near you!
I had thought that donating bone marrow might be a painful, harrowing experience. Apparently, I was wrong. It's much more akin to donating blood, where you have it done and then you might be sore for a few days, but then that's it. Your body will regenerate the marrow donated, and you could save someone's life.
I have seen that Christine's family and friends are deeply concerned for her, and that they love her very much. She is lucky. I wondered about all of the patients who don't have people literally on the streets trying to help...
I talked to Cammy Lee, of the Cammy Lee Leukemia Foundation www.cllf.org the other day. She said that there are many patients who do not want to go public with their stories... I certainly can understand.
I have not met Christine, but through looking at her website, reading her words, seeing her picture, watching the video clip of her on-line, and corresponding with her via e-mail, I have a sense of who she is, and why the people around her love her so.
It's very sad that she is going through this, but I have not experienced Christine herself to be sad. She has a sweet, beautiful spirit and she wants to live. It seems that simple to me.
If anyone reading this can host a bone marrow drive, please do! It was easy. I picked up the phone and called the Cammy Lee Leukemia Foundation at 212-290-2757. I needed to find a space -- all ya need is a table and 2 or 3 chairs, and people to come and register. If your church or rec center could host such an event, this could save countless peoples' lives!
If you aren't in NY, please call Susan at the National Bone Marrow Donor Program: 612-884-8567. She can help get the ball rolling in your city.
I signed myself up at the bone marrow drive last week. I am Korean. Cammy told me that she is working with 4 Korean patients in the NY Area who need a bone marrow translpant. I did not know this at the time, but it became clear to me that signing up and wanting to do a small thing could truly help in a big way.
My hilarious friend, stand-up comic, Janet Rosen took it upon herself to tell reporter, Heather Robinson about me. Heather writes about New Yorkers who do good things. She interviewed me for the NY Daily News a couple of days ago. My gym, Clay insideclay.com was kind enough to let us do the interview in their nice cafe. Sweet, athlete and marketing/media manager, Tanya M. Wood and talented writer, Omar Silwany www.omarsilwany.com said some nice things about me to the reporter. (Not sure why, but I am grateful.) So many people have come forward (more than I can name) and have been so compassionate and willing to help, it has restored my faith in humanity. Thank you and God bless you all out there!