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Call for help

Wil Wheaton has put a call out on his blog looking for help for a friend.

Basically, there is a woman who needs a bone marrow transplant. Because she is Filipino it is going to be very hard to find a match.

The odds that another person will be a match to you are 1 in 20,000. These odds are increased further if the person needing the marrow is a minority, as the human leukocyte antigens (HLA) that must be matched are inherited so they must generally be found within the same ethnic group.

I don't think any of y'all on my flist are Filipino, but if you have friends who are, send them the link to Wil's blog.

I've been signed up on the National Marrow Registry for about 8 years now. By signing up you're not agreeing to donate, that is a decision that would only have to be made if you were a match to someone. Not that it's really a decision in my mind, it's just a given that if I matched they could take the marrow they need. But the fact that I've been registered for so long and never even been a preliminary match just emphasizes the need for as many people as possible to register.

One of my fellow Los Angeles Poker Bloggers, StudioGlyphic (who won the WPBT Winter Classic last December) is looking for some help for one of his friends, whose girlfriend is very sick with cancer, and desperately needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. The odds of finding a donor match are about 1:20,000, but this girl's odds are even longer because she is Fillipino:

Medically, the only option Christine has left is a Bone Marrow Transplant. The survival rate of this procedure is 30-40%. Of those who do survive the procedure itself, only 50% survive the next two years. However, if she does survive those two years, it means the cancer won't come back.

This is a pretty terrible option. However, the non medical option is also horrible. Her doctor says that if she chooses not to have the Bone Marrow Transplant, she'll be dead within a year.

This is hard enough for the average person. There are over 20,000 types of bone marrow, so the average person has a 1 in 20,000 chance of finding a match. These numbers are even worse for Christine. Because she is Filipino, she needs to find a donor of the same ethnic background, and there are hardly any Filipinos on the National Registry.

Because we caught the cancer early, right now is our best chance of having the Bone Marrow Transplant work. Every day we lose her chances of surviving drop.

So please, contact your friends, and ask them to contact their friends. Anyone you know who is Filipino and between the ages of 18 and 61 is a potential donor. The system is nationwide, so it doesn't matter where they live. Signing up on the registry is easy and painless. All it requires is a simple blood test. Some hospitals charge a small fee for this blood test, however if your friends contact me directly, I can put them in touch with one of the hundreds of local organizations that will do the blood test for free. They can use this email address:

jacobkrueger@gmail.com

You can reassure your friends that signing up for the registry does not require donating any bone marrow. If it turns out they are a match, they will be contacted, and can make the decision at that point about becoming a donor.

There are lots of misconceptions about donating bone marrow. (I know I was terrified of doing it before I learned how minor the procedure actually is.) The procedure is simple and safe. You will be anesthetized the whole time, so you will not feel anything. When the procedure is over, you may have some soreness in the area for a few days and you may feel a little tired. That's it. The bone marrow you donate is replenished within 3-4 weeks. And again, you will only undergo this procedure if your blood sample shows that you are a match and you decide to donate, in which case the slight soreness you'll be feeling will be saving someone's life.

All medical expenses for the donor will be covered by Christine's insurance. And as I mentioned before, if they contact me directly, I can put them in touch with an organization near them that will put them on the National Registry for free and also make sure they are listed as a Sponsor for Christine.

Even if you aren't a match yourself, and even if you can't personally help Christine, please link to this post, and spread the word around. I know there are about a million of you who read this lame blog every month, and if just half of you make some effort to spread the word around, we may be able to help save Christine's life.

More info is at www.marrow.org

Go spread the word.
Get registered.
Save a life.

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