Back in 2007, I was at a nightclub where a friend was hosting an event with the Asian American Donor Program. Yes, this was where I registered as a donor with a simple q-tip swab of my cheek tissue. After that, I didn’t really think twice about it. Fast forward to 2015, I received a call from Be the Match while I was at a work event.
They told me I had been identified as a possible bone marrow match for a 16-year old girl with leukemia.
After a couple of rounds of blood tests, the recipient’s doctor wants to move forward with me as the bone marrow donor. A lot of emotions and concerns go through my head when I’m being told what’s involved with the process. I ultimately decide on moving forward with the process, because how can I not?
On the day of the procedure, I head to Stanford Medical Hospital, where they extract 1.5 liters of bone marrow from my hip bone. The collection went smoothly, and recovery was rather quick. The nurses there told me Asian bone marrow donors are a rare breed, and it’s so hard for Asian patients to find a match outside their family.
Almost 2 years later, I finally got an e-mail from Be The Match saying my recipient is healthy and would like to get in touch with me. This was really unbelievable as I wasn’t sure if she ever fully recovered because I hadn’t gotten any updates for quite some time. And not to my surprise, her ethnicity turned out to be Vietnamese, just like me.
So yes, ethnicity matters.
Then in July of 2018, we got to meet face to face in Washington, D.C. Hugs and tears of joy were shared between our families and us. It was a truly special moment, and I will never forget it.
Being able to save someone’s life is truly a great honor and privilege. You’ll see life in a new light if you get lucky enough to be part of this experience, and I encourage you to register if you haven’t already. If you have already registered, please spread the word. Lives are depending on it. Register today by texting AADP to 61474.Register