"Liang’s fight against acute lymphoblastic leukemia has been a personal battle that started within her family and became a public cause for many of her friends after she started Team Janet. Now, it has spread into a global movement, reaching out to Asians across the United States, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore."
— "For minorities, search for bone marrow donors is a personal struggle," Oakland North.

東灣布利桑頓居民梁嘉欣(Janet Liang)20日宣布,成功找到一名合適的骨髓捐贈者。剛做完將近一個月化療的她,目前已出院休息,並等候最後的檢查報告確定何時進行捐贈手術。

25歲的梁嘉欣在Facebook上發表一則簡訊,表示在不斷搜尋骨髓資料庫後,終於找到一名合適度9分(滿分10分)的男性捐贈者,對方也表示願意接受捐贈手術。主治醫生也試圖從臍帶血庫中尋找適合的捐贈者,並將在近期決定該使用何種移植手術。

梁嘉欣說,她是全美使用新化療藥物的12名病患之一。僅一個化療周期中,癌細胞就從82%驟降到2%。梁嘉欣感謝全世界關心、幫助她的朋友,希望大家一起慶祝好消息,她也會盡全力完成這場馬拉松式的挑戰。

在主治醫生的建議下,梁嘉欣一個月前抵達休士頓癌症中心,嘗試最新的藥物治療。好朋友王蕾說,梁嘉欣已出院休息,狀況良好,目前正在南加州探訪朋友。

美亞骨髓捐贈會(AADP)羅皓兒指出,雖然捐贈者還未經過詳細體檢,不過為了和時間賽跑,雙方將同時進行最後檢查,等檢查報告兩周後出爐,就可以決定手術形式。

梁嘉欣2009年就讀洛杉磯加大四年級時,因急性淋巴細胞白血病發病而休學治療。今年1月底,她在病房自拍影片後上傳到Youtube網站,請求民眾登記骨髓捐贈,救她一命。該影片迄今有37萬網友點閱,連職籃明星林書豪都在臉書上呼籲球迷參加捐贈登記。

羅皓兒表示,梁嘉欣和Jack Chin尋找到合適捐贈者的消息讓人精神一振,但目前灣區仍有一名28歲的越華裔青年陳坤(Khon Tran)正在尋找適當的骨髓捐贈者。從註冊登記、樣本採集到進入骨髓捐贈資料庫需時四周,羅皓兒希望這些好消息可以鼓勵更多華裔民眾進行骨髓登記,幫助更多病患。

by 陳巧倫
June 23, 2012
World Journal (世界新聞) 

(Source: worldjournal.com)

An article by UC Davis’ student newspaper The California Aggie about Janet:

When UCLA student Janet Liang was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in 2009, she, her family and the doctors were the only people who knew about it.

According to the National Marrow Donor Program, ALL is a cancer of the white blood cells. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell used by the body to fight infections, and bone marrow makes blasts – uniformed cells – that usually develop into these lymphocytes. However, the disease inhibits the development of normal blasts and, thus, the combat of infections.

After a year and a half in remission and a tragic relapse in 2011, Liang decided to tell others about her situation. While still in the hospital, Liang filmed and uploaded  a video recording her plea for help to YouTube.

“I am scared of dying because of everything that I will leave behind,” Liang said in the video. “I don’t know if I’ll ever find my bone marrow match in time.”

The video went viral. Now, people all around the world know about Janet Liang, her disease and her desperate need for a perfectly matched bone marrow donation.

A campaign called Helping Janet was launched to help Liang find usable bone marrow. Although over 22,000 people have registered as donors, none of them are a perfect match. The “Helping Janet” website states that the deadline for Liang to receive a bone marrow donation is this month.

Liang, who graduated from UCLA with a degree in international development and has a passion for reading and writing, dedicated the campaign in memory of Michelle Maykin, who suffered from the same disease as Liang and initiated a grassroots campaign for her own perfect match.

People from all over the world have gotten involved, including UC Davis students Vincent Trinh and Alyssa Ng. Trinh, a senior English major, stumbled upon Liang’s plea for help on a social media website.

“We are both UC students, we’re both from the Bay Area, we’re both Asian Americans and we’re both activists within in our community,” Trinh said regarding his initial interest in Helping Janet. “Someone as sweet, talented and kind as her should not have to go through this.”

Trinh’s first act of involvement was coordinating a bone marrow drive at UC Davis. He teamed up with many Asian American organizations such as Lambda Fraternity and the Asian American Donor Program. They used many social media outlets such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to optimize the movement on campus. Trinh helped to register nearly 200 people within the course of two days.

Ng, a senior managerial economics major who has also aided such bone marrow drives, said that the complexity of the situation lies in the fact that Liang needs bone marrow from a person of a similar race.

According to Ng, Liang is having a hard time finding a match because Asian Americans make up only 7 percent of the entire bone marrow registry.

"In order for someone like Janet to find a perfect bone marrow match, her donor must be Chinese,” Trinh said. “Considering how diverse our Asian American community is and that we make up only 7 percent of the total registry, her chances are very slim.”

Liang has won several awards for her plight and perseverance, including the Spirit of Hope Award from Asian Miracle Marrow Matches, the Unsung Hero Award for 2012 from Asian Pacific Americans for Progress and the Juanita Haugen Community of Character Award for 2012.

Trinh and Ng both consider Liang to be a very talented writer and actively read her personal blog at janetgliang.com.

Helping Janet is uniquely linked to many forms of social media. The campaign has a blog, helpingjanet.tumblr.com; a website, helpingjanet.com; and a Facebook page, facebook.com/helpingjanet.

Registering to become a donor can be done online. Asian Americans and those of Chinese descent are especially encouraged to do so.

by Sara Islas
June 6, 2012
The California Aggie, UC Davis 

(Source: theaggie.org)

"Dr. Lin Teams Up with Fung Brothers, AHMC Health Foundation to Help Janet Liang"

MONTEREY PARK – Inside the lobby of the AHMC International Cancer Center, Dr. Matthew Lin, an Orthopedic Surgeon and co-founder of the Cancer Center, joined Monterey Park Vice Mayor Mitchell Ing, the Fung Brother’s David and Andrew, Tammy and Tony of Team Janet, Geoge Chen President of the Taiwan Benevolent Association of California, Jennifer Renshaw President of the Overseas Chinese Business Exchange, Philip Cohen President of the AHMC Health Foundation, and David Batista CEO of Garfield Medical Center to help raise awareness for Janet Liang who is affected with leukemia and in need of a bone marrow transplant.
“Thank you Vice Mayor Ing and the Fung Brothers for joining us today to raise awareness for Janet who is battling leukemia and needs our help to find a bone marrow donor,” said Dr. Matthew Lin. 
“Asians as a whole are under-represented when it comes to bone marrow transplants compared to other ethnic groups, we need to change this trend if we want to help save the lives of those we love.”
In 2009, Janet Liang was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia while majoring in international development studies at UCLA.  After undergoing several aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, Janet achieved full remission in 2010. Unfortunately, in December 2011, doctors informed her that she had relapsed and is now in need of a bone marrow transplant. To learn more about Janet please visit helpingjanet.com.
"Dr. Lin Teams Up with Fung Brothers, AHMC Health Foundation to Help Janet Liang"

MONTEREY PARK – Inside the lobby of the AHMC International Cancer Center, Dr. Matthew Lin, an Orthopedic Surgeon and co-founder of the Cancer Center, joined Monterey Park Vice Mayor Mitchell Ing, the Fung Brother’s David and Andrew, Tammy and Tony of Team Janet, Geoge Chen President of the Taiwan Benevolent Association of California, Jennifer Renshaw President of the Overseas Chinese Business Exchange, Philip Cohen President of the AHMC Health Foundation, and David Batista CEO of Garfield Medical Center to help raise awareness for Janet Liang who is affected with leukemia and in need of a bone marrow transplant.
“Thank you Vice Mayor Ing and the Fung Brothers for joining us today to raise awareness for Janet who is battling leukemia and needs our help to find a bone marrow donor,” said Dr. Matthew Lin. 
“Asians as a whole are under-represented when it comes to bone marrow transplants compared to other ethnic groups, we need to change this trend if we want to help save the lives of those we love.”
In 2009, Janet Liang was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia while majoring in international development studies at UCLA.  After undergoing several aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, Janet achieved full remission in 2010. Unfortunately, in December 2011, doctors informed her that she had relapsed and is now in need of a bone marrow transplant. To learn more about Janet please visit helpingjanet.com.

"Dr. Lin Teams Up with Fung Brothers, AHMC Health Foundation to Help Janet Liang"

MONTEREY PARK – Inside the lobby of the AHMC International Cancer Center, Dr. Matthew Lin, an Orthopedic Surgeon and co-founder of the Cancer Center, joined Monterey Park Vice Mayor Mitchell Ing, the Fung Brother’s David and Andrew, Tammy and Tony of Team Janet, Geoge Chen President of the Taiwan Benevolent Association of California, Jennifer Renshaw President of the Overseas Chinese Business Exchange, Philip Cohen President of the AHMC Health Foundation, and David Batista CEO of Garfield Medical Center to help raise awareness for Janet Liang who is affected with leukemia and in need of a bone marrow transplant.

“Thank you Vice Mayor Ing and the Fung Brothers for joining us today to raise awareness for Janet who is battling leukemia and needs our help to find a bone marrow donor,” said Dr. Matthew Lin. 

“Asians as a whole are under-represented when it comes to bone marrow transplants compared to other ethnic groups, we need to change this trend if we want to help save the lives of those we love.”

In 2009, Janet Liang was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia while majoring in international development studies at UCLA.  After undergoing several aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, Janet achieved full remission in 2010. Unfortunately, in December 2011, doctors informed her that she had relapsed and is now in need of a bone marrow transplant. To learn more about Janet please visit helpingjanet.com.

(Source: votedrlin.com)

Janet has just been listed as one of Angry Asian Man's 30 under 30! Read below.

30 under 30: janet liang

Janet Liang

Age: 25

Cancer Patient, Asian American Bone Marrow Advocate

Why she’s influential: Because she’s turned her personal life-and-death struggle into a nationwide movement for bone marrow registry in our community.

At age 22, while majoring international development at UCLA, Janet Liang was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. During her treatment, with the help of friends, she launched the “Team Janet” campaign, urging fellow Asian Americans to register to become a bone marrow donor.

In June 2010, after enduring eight rounds of high-dosage chemotherapy, she left the hospital in complete remission and began a regimen of maintenance therapy that kept her cancer-free for a year a a half. She finished her studies, graduated college, traveled, and got a job. The future was bright.

Unfortunately, her cancer came back. But it hasn’t stopped her fighting spirit.

Janet has until June to find a perfect bone marrow match — her best option for a full recovery. At 25 years old, this is literally a matter of life and death. But she’s used her situation as an opportunity to create awareness about the severe dearth of registered bone marrow donors within the Asian American community.

Are you on Team Janet? She’s on a mission to register as many Asian Americans as possible. You could be the match that saves a life — maybe even Janet’s life. Her efforts have helped register nearly 20,000 donors, sparked a national awareness campaign, found life-saving matches for several patients, and hopefully find her own match soon. Sign up here.

Mandarin language news program featured Janet’s story! 

華裔血癌女 只剩2個月尋骨髓

ETTV (東森), March 19, 2012

USA Today's College edition covered the Helping Janet campaign this past weekend! :D

Thank YOU for the continued support and please keep hosting drives and registering donors in your community to find Janet her perfect match! We now know that Janet has until June, not April, to find a match!

In 2009, Janet Liang was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia while studying at the University of California – Los Angeles.

Although she was cancer free for one and a half years, she learned in December of 2011 that she had until April to find an unrelated bone marrow donor.

However, according to the National Marrow Donor Program, only 7% of registered bone marrow donors in the United States are of Asian descent.

“I am so afraid of dying,” a teary-eyed Liang said on the YouTube video she posted in January. “It feels like I don’t have much time left. And I realize that I’m afraid I’m dying because mostly I’m afraid of what I’m leaving behind.”

With over 360,000 views, the video has gained traction and immense support and within the last couple of months, she and her friends have launched a grassroots campaign called Helping Janet to encourage people, especially those of Asian descent, to register.

Local Asian-American celebrities like Wong Fu Productions, Kevjumba and Far East Movement have also caught onto the cause.

Today, the campaign has registered 14,925 people for the bone marrow registry.

“Janet is one of the most caring and sweetest people in the world,” Tami Lin, Liang’s former UCLA roommate, who is helping spearhead the campaign, said. “She’s definitely very, very happy and grateful to the response.”

According to Lin, Liang started up the campaign single-handedly.

“She stated this whole grassroots campaign back on her hospital bed,” Lin said. “Finally (a) huge response has came back. Now she can finally rest. That’s the most important thing we want her to do. We just want her to get rest.”

The movement has motivated people from across the nation to mobilize and take action.

New York University junior and president of the NYU Asian Cultural Union, Ben Dumond had lost a friend to cancer two years ago, and after hearing about Liang’s story, was compelled to host a drive on the East Coast.

“With her story in mind, I really wanted to facilitate awareness within our community about the lack of registrants we have, not only from the Asian American community in the bone marrow registry, but also from other minority groups,” Dumond, who is half Korean, said.

Dumond, who has never met Liang, partnered up with the South Asian Marrow Association of Recruiters and in his second day of fundraising had already entered 130 new registrants in the system.

His next drive will be at the 6th annual New York City Asian American Student Conference on Saturday, April 21 at the NYU campus.

According to Dumond, registering to be in the bone marrow system is a two-step process. Step one, you fill out a application with your medical history and step two requires a oral swab. Registrants’ DNA are put into the system and they are contacted if they are a match to someone in need.

“It’s completely based on consent and you (have the) option of declining,” Dumond added.

Both Dumond and Lin have been in contact, brainstorming ways to increase registration and raise awareness.

“I think right now the key is to continue to have more people put on drives on their own,” Lin said. “But we have a lot of hope.”

Unfortunately the statistics are grim. Compared to Caucasians, who have an 80% chance of finding a match from the existing National Marrow Donor Program, ethnic minorities only have a 30-40% chance, according to the Asian-American Donor Program.

And whereas over 70% of Caucasian donors will proceed with donating if called as a possible match, approximately 50% of all ethnic minorities contacted will not push through with donating.

But as her friends and family work around the clock on raising awareness around the nation, Liang remains optimistic.

“I’m very touched with what everyone is doing out there for me and other patients,” she said. “It gives us hope. I’m always bragging to my doctors and nurses about the progress we are making. I’m always beaming with pride.”

A list of upcoming drives can be found on the campaign’s Facebook page.

by Clarissa Wei
March 10, 2012
USA Today 

(Source: usatodayeducate.com)

Detroit’s edition of the Epoch Times (大紀元時報) on March 2, 2012, featured Janet’s story, and an upcoming drive this weekend!
Detroit area folks, there’s a Team Janet registry drive on Sunday, March 11 (12:30-4 pm)! Be sure to check it out!

Oakland Chinese Church (map)4155 North Squirrel RoadAuburn Hills, MI 48326 Phone: (248) 340-7495

Detroit’s edition of the Epoch Times (大紀元時報) on March 2, 2012, featured Janet’s story, and an upcoming drive this weekend!

Detroit area folks, there’s a Team Janet registry drive on Sunday, March 11 (12:30-4 pm)! Be sure to check it out!

Oakland Chinese Church (map)
4155 North Squirrel Road
Auburn Hills, MI 48326 
Phone: (248) 340-7495

(Source: e-paper.epochtimes.com)

Every year, over 10,000 patients in the U.S. are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases like leukemia, and their best and sometimes only hope for a cure is a transplant from an adult donor who is not related to them.

Janet Liang was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August 2009, at age 22. She was in her last year at UCLA, majoring in international development studies and minoring in education. After going through extensive and aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, she was told in June 2010 that her cancer was in remission. In December 2011, one and a half years after being declared cancer-free, she was told that her cancer was back. Liang now has only until April to find a bone marrow donor match before her cancer completely takes over her.

Asian Pacific American artists and entertainers like Far East Movement, Kina Grannis, Kevin “Kevjumba” Wu and Victor Kim have posted YouTube videos urging viewers to get swabbed into the donor registry to help find a match for Liang.

On Jan. 21, Liang created her own YouTube video titled “Finding A Perfect Match for Janet – Her Personal Plea,” which has already been viewed over 360,000 times. Liang asks viewers to please register in the bone marrow registry, especially if they are of Chinese descent. The video starts with Liang, bald and wearing a knit hat, crying and being brutally honest; she’s afraid of dying, she confesses to her audience. She’s scared she won’t find a match in time and begs viewers to please help save her life.

Nadya Dutchin, the national account executive at Be The Match Registry, explained the likelihood of finding a match.

“Asian Pacific Islander patients have an estimated 73 percent likelihood of having a donor on the Be The Match Registry who is willing and able to help save a life,” she said. “Chances of finding a match vary by individual based on their tissue type. Due to genetic diversity, a person’s tissue type may be common, uncommon or rare, which is why we continually strive to increase the size and the diversity of the Be The Match Registry.”

On Feb. 14, Be The Match and the D.C. Metropolitan Asian Pacific American Marrow Network teamed up to host a drive in the university’s Stamp Union to get students to register.

Before the drive started, representative Leona Wang of both organizations said, “We’re hopeful that we can build awareness and help save Janet’s life and other patients seeking a donor match. [Lead director] Hsuan Ou has done an amazing job organizing this multi-campus marrow drive in such a short time frame, but like Janet and other patients suffering from leukemia, there’s not much time for them either.”

“We couldn’t have done it without the Asian American Student Union, Phi Delta Sigma and Lambda Phi Epsilon,” Ou added.

At the drive, 73 people registered in hopes of being a match.

According to Be The Match Registry, 39 percent of the potential donors who joined the registry in 2011 were from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and approximately 70,000 of those potential donors identified themselves as Asian or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander. However, none of those donors have proved to be a match for Liang, which is why she took to the Internet to urge non-donors to get swabbed and put into the registry.

Liang’s chances of finding a match may also be affected by the untruths believed about marrow donation.

“Unfortunately, myths about marrow donation keep many people from joining the registry and potentially saving a life. Some people don’t join the Be The Match Registry because they have a misunderstanding about how painful the donation process is,” Dutchin said.

“There are actually two ways to donate marrow,” she said. “When you donate peripheral blood stem cells, it is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure similar to donating platelets or plasma. When you donate marrow, you are under general anesthesia and feel no pain during the procedure. Most donors say they would do it again to save a life.”

For now, a frightened but optimistic Liang, along with family, friends and other patients like her, is caught in a nerve-racking game of waiting in hopes of finding the perfect match before time runs out.

by Elana Fink
March 2012
Public Asian, University of Maryland, College Park 

(Source: publicasian.com)

Hawaiian followers! There are 2 upcoming marrow registry drives this month on the beautiful island of Oahu (also Janet’s birthplace), at:

More info below. An amazing 207 donors were registered just today in Hawaii! Mahalo!

Honolulu – While class was in session Wednesday morning on the campus of Leeward Community College, students turned out in force to try and help save the life of a Hawaii-born woman from California suffering from a rare disease.

Janet Liang, 25, was born and raised in Honolulu, attending Maryknoll School before moving to California during the seventh grade. In 2009, while majoring in international development studies at UCLA, Janet found out that her dream of becoming a teacher might not be as easy as she once had imagined.

She had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a disease where immature white blood cells are overproduced and crowd out normal cells in bone marrow before eventually spreading to other organs. After undergoing several vigorous rounds of chemotherapy, Janet’s disease went into full remission in 2010.

Late last year, however, Janet’s leukemia relapsed, and she is now undergoing treatment at the UCLA Medical Center. Doctors say she needs a bone marrow transplant before June, but finding a suitable donor for Janet has proven difficult so far.

Hundreds of students and faculty at LCC came to the rescue on Wednesday, where friends organized a bone marrow donor drive in hopes of finding an individual with a suitable bone marrow type for the transplant. After filling out personal information and medical history forms, the potential donors took DNA swabs from the insides of their cheeks that will be tested to see whether or not they are suitable for the transplant.

Michele Hamada, who helped organize the drive, has known Janet since they attended Maryknoll together. She says that getting people to register for the drive was easier than expected.

"Once we tell them about Janet and her story, and how she has a limited time and is only 25 years old, I ask them if they can imagine [what it would be like] if they only had two months to live," Hamada said. "All it [consists of] is registration, a cheek swab and you fill out a form, and that’s it, you could be a match."

Hamada is also hopeful that Hawaii’s diverse population will help in the search for a donor, since Liang is Chinese.

"Asian donors only make up seven percent of the national registry, so in Hawaii, where we have a high percentage of people that are Asian, we have even greater chances of finding a match," said Hamada.

If a suitable match is found, the donation process is often easier than many people think. Only a small number of people go through a surgical procedure, with many cases being as simple as giving blood.

Other donor drives are scheduled to try and find a bone marrow match for Janet. To register, simply show up at one of the following locations at the times specified.

Location: New Hope Farrington (outside of the auditorium)
Date: Sunday, March 4th
Time: 7:00 am -1:30 pm

Location: Leeward Community College (outside of the cafeteria)
Date: Tuesday, March 13th
Time: 9:00 am -2:00 pm

For more information on Janet Liang and her story, visit http://helpingjanet.com.

by Ian Scheuring
HawaiiNewsNow
February 28, 2011

(Source: hawaiinewsnow.com)

Thank you Asian American Times for publicizing Janet’s situation to the Asian American community in Arizona!

Asian American Times
February 23, 2012 

(Source: viewda.com)

Deng Yao from Sino Vision Net news made a report on Janet’s situation earlier this month. It’s getting urgent. Spread the word to any Chinese speakers you know! Janet MUST find a match by April.

美華裔血癌女自拍視頻向全美華人尋求匹配骨髓

被確診患有血癌的加州女孩Janet Liang僅剩3個月短短生命,她在視頻中呼籲希望能夠得到更多人的幫助,協助尋求匹配的骨髓。

這條視頻在不到一周的時間內就累積近30萬次點擊量,超過2500位網友留言為她打氣。短片中Janet泣不成聲,說自己不想死,覺得還有很多事情沒有完成,很多東西放不下。長達3分多鐘的視頻裡,Janet頭戴毛線帽、手上打著點滴,但她仍然堅強地說自己很樂觀,只要有一線希望她都不會放棄。

居住在加州東灣普萊臣頓的Janet Liang09年8月診斷出患有血癌,本寄希望就讀加州大學戴維斯分校的弟弟能捐出骨髓,但由於生理結構的差異未能匹配,無法移植。像Janet Liang這樣少數族裔血癌患者在美國尋獲適合捐贈人的機率只有萬分之一,捐贈人通常出現在相同族裔中,而由於很多人對捐贈骨髓有許多誤解和恐懼,目前美國亞裔人口登記成為捐贈候選人的比率只有7%。

隨著社交網絡的力量越來越大,Janet希望藉助網絡的力量,以求更大的求生機會。也希望紐約的華人能夠儘自己的一份力,尋求匹配的骨髓,幫助Janet延長年輕的生命。

by Deng Yao (鄧瑤)
Sino Vision Net News (美國中文網), February 1, 2012

(Source: video.sinovision.net)

With only a relatively small percentage of potential Asian American bone marrow donors registered, Asian American leukemia patients continue to struggle to find their perfect match.

Though they have never met, Vincent Trinh has a simple answer to why he decided to dedicate his last quarter of college to organizing bone marrow drives for Janet Liang: her smile.

“No one with a beautiful smile should deserve to be in such pain. So, I made an oath to myself to use whatever available resources on campus to really get the word out about Janet,” said Trinh, a student at the University of California, Davis.

“I wanted Janet to live and continue to radiate her friends and families with her smile. It’s corny, I know, but I still feel that way. You don’t have to know someone physically to know who they are,” he added.

Struck also by all the things they had in common — both are University of California students, about the same age, from the Bay Area and active in the Asian American community — Trinh utilized his networks and journalism skills to organize UC Davis’ largest-ever bone marrow drive.

Liang, 23, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of blood cancer, during her senior year at UCLA in 2009. She achieved full remission in 2010 after enduring several aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, but relapsed this past December. The 23-year-old has until April to find a perfect bone marrow match.

“It feels like I don’t have much time and I realize I’m afraid of dying mostly because I’m afraid of what I’m leaving behind. And I don’t know if I’ll ever find my match,” says Liang in an emotional YouTube video blog that caught the attention of Trinh and thousands more.

According to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), every year more than 10,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with a life threatening disease, like leukemia or lymphoma, where their best or only hope for a cure is a transplant from an unrelated donor.

Nearly 670,000 Asians and/or Asian Americans belong to NMDP’s Be The Match Registry, which consists of 9.5 million potential donors in all. Though increasing annually, that number represents only seven percent of potential adult Asian and/or Asian American donors.

Shin Ito, the director of Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M) says that there are a number of challenges involved in recruiting Asian Americans to the registry.

Because the markers used in matching are inherited, patients are more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity. So, says Liang, the primary challenge in finding matches for Asian American patients is the “diversity of this community.”

Also, “in some Asian communities, the parents play a large role in the decisions made by their children, even adult children. Oftentimes, they must consult with their parents before they are able to consider joining the Be The Match Registry,” says Ito.

To become part of the registry, potential donors must swab the inside of their cheeks with a cotton swab and fill out paperwork. It’s a process that usually takes about five minutes, explains Jim Chin, whose twin brother Jack is currently seeking a match.

“For something that’s so lifesaving or that’s so life-changing, not just for patients but for their families … in this case it’s [also] so convenient,” he said.

When 23-year-old Jack Chin started experiencing severe leg pains this past summer, he didn’t think much of it. Not wanting to make a bad impression at the summer internship he secured after his third year at UCLA, he never even called in sick; instead, he took some ibuprofen, found a pair of crutches and continued working. He endured a month of sleep deprivation due to the intense pain before seeing a doctor.

Like Liang, Jack’s diagnosis was acute lymphoblastic leukemia. As a healthy young adult who never smoked, had no family history of the disease, and hadn’t even been mildly ill “in years,” unsurprisingly the news caused another sleepless night.

“It really did happen to someone who least expected it … I’m not trying to scare people but it really did happen to the kid who absolutely did not think this would happen. I didn’t even know what it was before this,” said Jack.

After the diagnosis, he was immediately rushed to the hospital. But after several months of treatment, consisting of aggressive chemotherapy and high-dose drugs that left him feeling even worse than before, the leukemia remains. His only option of survival is a bone marrow transplant.

“When I came out of the doctor’s office [knowing] I needed to have a transplant and I had to tell people, I thought maybe 20 people would respond,” he said. “I never expected so many people who I’ve never met before to say, ‘hey, I saw your story [and] I wanted to offer my support.’”

A quick glance at the Save Jack From Leukemia Facebook page attests to the support that Jack’s gotten. From close friends to strangers to Senator Leland Yee, the publicity his high school friends have generated for him has led to more bone marrow drives and more possibilities of finding a match. And with just a couple of months to a year to do so, Jack says that he cannot fully express how much he appreciates the outpouring of support.

“I guess one thing is if I do make it out of this, I would have a lot of people to thank,” he says.

To join the Be The Match Registry, register in person or online at BeTheMatch.org.

by Christine Fukushima
Pacific Citizen
February 17, 2012 

(Source: pacificcitizen.org)

Upon hearing about Janet Liang’s situation, Vincent Trinh, along with hundreds of other UC Davis students, mobilized to help start the “Save Janet Project”. Over 200 people registered to become bone marrow donors at the drives that took place at the quad on February 1st and 2nd.

Janet has yet to find a perfect match.

February 7, 2012
Associated Students, UC Davis

UCLA student needs marrow transplant after 3-year struggle with cancer

Western juniors Nicole Enslow, Thuy Huynh and Shirley So are holding a bone marrow drive for a woman who lives miles away. 

Saving Janet Liang, a former University of California Los Angeles student, who is in dire need of a bone marrow transplant, is the main reason for the drive, Huynh said.

Every year, thousands of adults and children need bone marrow transplants, according to the Puget Sound Blood Center website. Only 30 percent of patients with leukemia or other cancers who need a transplant will find a match in their family, according to the site. Liang is part of the 70 percent who cannot.

Enslow and Huynh want to educate people about bone marrow donations and try to help save Liang’s life, they said.

Huynh said she wants people to understand exactly what is done in a bone marrow drive, who can be a donor and the importance of donating bone marrow.

“I constantly donate blood, and I know they are always asking for bone marrow,” Enslow said. “We’re trying to build the registry.”

Liang was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2009, according to helpingjanet.com, the website dedicated to helping Liang. During her treatment at the UCLA Medical Center, she began her “Team Janet” campaign to find a bone marrow match. Liang achieved full remission in 2010.

In December 2011, after a year and a half of being cancer-free, her cancer returned. Currently, her best option for a full recovery is to find a match by April, according to the site.

All people do in a bone marrow drive is fill out forms with basic information about themselves and get the four corners of their mouth swabbed with a cotton swab, Enslow said. It is a simple process that could save a life, she said.

Enslow and Huynh needed a project for their human services class, and Huynh heard about Liang through a video posted on the Chinese Students Association Facebook page. Bone marrow drives are done across the country in honor of Liang in hopes of finding a bone marrow match for her. The two decided this would be a perfect project, Huynh said.

So is the current president of the Chinese Student Association. When So saw the video and learned Enslow and Huynh were putting on a bone marrow drive, she wanted to join, she said. So’s main motivation for joining was to raise awareness about how it is easier to find a bone marrow match with someone of the same ethnicity, she said.

So was excited when she heard about this project because bone marrow matches are difficult to find, especially for Asian Americans like Liang, So said.

More people of color are needed because compared to the 73 percent of those registered to donate bone marrow who are Caucasians, only 8 percent are African Americans, 8 percent are Asian/Pacific Islander, 9 percent are Hispanic, 1 percent are Native Americans and 3 percent are multi-racial, according to the Puget Sound Blood Center.

“Bone marrow matches are so hard to find, and I want as many Asian Americans to step up for this cause and be a donor as possible,” So said. 

People have the misconception that bone marrow drives are painful, Enslow said.

“I don’t like that there is a stigma about bone marrow drives,” Huynh said.

The swabs are then sent to Puget Sound Blood Center where they are put in a database. After the bone marrow drive, people will not be contacted unless they are a possible match for someone, and they can change their mind about becoming a donor at that point, Enslow said.

“We want people who are 100 percent committed because you can be selected at any time,” Huynh said.

So attended a bone marrow drive in 2009 and has been in the bone marrow database since. She has not been contacted but said she will donate bone marrow if she is asked.

For more information on the bone marrow drive or Janet Liang, search “WWU Bone Marrow Drive — Help Janet” on Facebook, or visit www.helpingjanet.com.

by Ana Karen Perez Guzman
The Western Front
February 17, 2012

(Source: westernfrontonline.net)