Monday, March 31, 2008

Getting Cheeky - Erica's Story, and why you should be swabbed

There's nothing like a little cancer to put life in perspective. Small word. BIG implications.

I received an email from a woman on the On Your Feet Project board about her friend's roommate, Erica. You guessed it, Erica has cancer. Leukemia, to be exact. She's been fighting it for two years while attending the Fletcher School at Tufts University in Medford, MA, and thought it was in remission. But that's the nasty thing about cancer: It Can Come Back.

Erica and her family are looking for a bone marrow donor. Erica is of mixed race - Asian / Caucasion / I'm Just Guessing - and is encouraging everyone, but especially minorities, to get their cheeks swabbed for inclusion in the bone marrow registry.

Maybe Erica's story hit closer to home because she's around my age, going to a grad school I myself have considered, and she looks like a lot of fun. Even when having cancer. I mean, who sings a modified kareoke cover of [Bare Naked Ladies] [edited...] with her sister - "If I had a real good donor, I'd be alive" - while laughing and enjoying it? I don't even think "awesome sense of humor" even begins to cover it.

You have the potential to save someone's life, and according to the email I received (the interweb is always truthful) and the National Marrow Registry, if you are actually a match for someone, the donation process is fairly painless. You get some shots for about a week in order to build up the "counts" in your blood (and my friend who had it done last year it said all it does is make you feel like you're fighting off a cold) and then you go in for what is like an extended blood donation - they draw blood, strain out what they need from it, and then the blood goes back in.

Now I don't know about all y'all, but I can't remember all that many times where I've saved someone's life. Maybe once, or twice.

So. Go register, and get your cheek swabbed, and bring along a friend of "mixed race." (If you're of "mixed race" already, that will make two of you! If not, this way you'll be increasing the chances of finding Erica a donor.) Now. Do it.

Happy Swabbing. And good luck, Erica. My thoughts are with you.

***Note: Yes, you do have to pay to get your cheek swabbed, unless it's during a special drive where sponsors are covering the cost. Just $52. Think of it as a donation to the world. If you have a flexible spending account, you may be able to expense the cost...
- Upcoming marrow drives in the Boston area


Anonymous said...

As a former roommate I can definitely vouch for how much fun she really is!

Please register and get everyone you know to register!


hannah said...

i actually registered a couple of months ago, and there is a definite need for donors of asian decent. if you can brush your teeth, you can swab your cheek - and feel a little CSI-ish at the same time ;)

so if someone like me, whose mother had to chase her around the home and find her hidden in the closet to give her a flu shot, can suck it up and get registered, you can, too!

Casey said...

Hannah, you're a model Asian.


hannah said...


Casey, you're hilarious.


(and if you ask mama kim, she'll tell you i'm so not. ain't no one like your mother to keep you in check.)

John R said...

WOW. Great video. I'll spread the word.