We are a big, diverse family… a mishmash of all things from Thai to Texan, Chinese to Milanese. We love the mix, and we like to jokingly plan our continued diversification. Bring in some Latinos, Africans, Pacific Islanders, and eventually marry the youngest cousin off to a nice Inuit girl!
This diversity has always been a blessing to us. Who wouldn’t want mango sticky-rice next to their pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, or to know they always have a free place to stay in London, San Fran or even Tanzania?
Yet now this wonderful diversity is what may prevent our kindest, most caring cousin from getting the treatment she needs to save her life.
Lara has rapidly progressing Acute Myeloid Leukemia, and she needs a stem cell transplant. It’s a straightforward procedure, but finding a genetic match for someone of mixed race is a difficult endeavor. Less than 3% of people in the donor registries are of mixed race, and only a fraction of them are an Asian-European mix most likely to match with Lara.
All of us in the family wanted so badly to be the match. I must have hit the refresh button a hundred times on the online test results page, before finally getting my markers. They didn’t match. None of ours do. So now this is a numbers game. The chances of any one person being a match are tiny, but if we can mobilize thousands… hundreds of thousands… millions of people… then the odds don’t look so bad anymore.
The chances of Caucasian patients finding a match are upwards of 80%. That’s because there are tens of millions of Caucasians registered as donors. We mixes, Asians and other minorities need to do the same for each other. If you haven’t registered yet, stop reading, CLICK HERE, sign up. Do it for Lara, and for all the other diverse people who need or will someday need a stem cell transplant.
Mixed race is the fastest growing ethnic group in the US, with more and more mixed children being born each year. Leukemia is the number one cause of death by disease in children and young people. For mixed race youth to stand the same chance of survival as their peers, we need to make sure we have a diverse registry of donors for all, no matter their heritage.
That’s why loving, selfless Lara (who works with refugees, studies global migration, and even climbed mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for children in Syria) agreed to this whole campaign we’re doing. It’s a search that can save lives around the world.
Lara inspires us all with her vision of a fair, equitable world that embraces diversity. Let’s help realize that vision, by getting our friends, coworkers, acquaintances and retweeters of all ethnicities to sign up as donors, and ensure that we are able to save lives of patients like Lara, no matter what their mix.
Please sign up, share, spread the word, and you could save a life.