Swabs and sneaks

I've got a really supportive group of friends. Need support, help with a special project, a shoulder to cry on? They're there. It's an incredible gift to have people like my friends in my life.

Knowing how supportive they are is one of the reasons I don't like the feeling of helplessness that comes with having to sit by idly when online friends are hurting. If you're trying to support Judy and Julia right now, I'm sure you know what I mean. There are, however, some very concrete things you and I can do to squelch that feeling and make a real difference in the fight against cancer.

Bone Marrow Donation

Asian American bone marrow and cord blood donors are needed to increase the potential for matches. Registering as a potential marrow donor takes just a few minutes and a swab of your cheek. If you are pregnant, umbilical cord blood can be donated at your hospital when your baby is born, and is offering hope to patients for whom marrow transplant is not a possibility. There is a wealth of information on the National Marrow Donor Program and Asian American Donor Program websites. (You might be interested in knowing that there's a picture of Yul Kwon on the front page of the AADP website, too. Unfortunately he has his shirt on.)

If you aren't a candidate for marrow or cord blood donation (there are some health conditions that prevent it, plus white donors are in less demand), you can still help by organizing a bone marrow registration drive. I've done this twice, most successfully through my employer. The NMDP has representatives across the country who work with the community to set up the drives. I learned when I organized the second of the two I've done that a great way to increase success is to conduct the drive at the same time as a Red Cross blood drive. The publicity we posted online and in our building focused on the need for African American and Asian American donors, and the turnout was very good. Drives can be sponsored through other organizations and churches, too.

Breast Cancer Research

So maybe you're neither a candidate for marrow donation nor an organizer. Well, how about walking or running for the cure for breast cancer? You can choose from a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Fit for the Cure or Ultimate Drive, which take place all over the country throughout the year. The money you raise furthers research toward a cure.

I walked in the 2005 National Race for the Cure in DC, and it was incredible. I don't think I've ever felt more solidarity with my sisters. But don't think this is purely a female thing - there were plenty of guys there, too! People walked with teams or as individuals, and some of the teams made significant amounts of money. Ours was smaller and didn't earn as much, but we still contributed to the overall goal and had a great time in the process. Although the word "race" is in the title, by the way, most of the participants strolled the course for fun, not competition.

I've never done the Avon Walk, which is a much more demanding event. It's a 39-mile walk, and takes place over two days. Walks are scheduled in cities across the country throughout the year. Of course, to walk 39 miles in two days means you will probably need to train a whole lot more than you will for a 5K. But for committed walkers, this is a terrific opportunity to add to the research coffers.

So, swab those cheeks and put on those sneakers! And think of Julia and Judy when you do!


Judy said…
Thanks so much, Margie. I get notices of those walks/runs, and am half-tempted to sign up myself and then I smartly talk myself out of it. Going through treatment right now, I know that I'm not in physical condition to do so.

Next year, next year.

I do donate, however. And I know of a few who have put up luminaries in my honor which touches me a great deal.

Thanks again for bringing these worthwhile causes to peoples' attention.
Oooo thank you for the reminder. I signed up for the swab kit... I've got it on my desk but I haven't swabbed and returned yet. Must do that tomorrow
Cindy Foote said…
Margie, thanks for commenting on our blog. I love your questions and am not offended or bothered AT ALL! Yes, I am speaking of Satan when I say "the enemy". We are followers of Jesus - a.k.a. Christians. We see adoption as the very heart of God because He adopted us at such a great price when Jesus was crucified. We are sons and daughters of God - not because we deserve it, but because He loved us and died for us and rose from the grave. We received Jesus as Lord and Savior and now we are children of the King! So - adoption has a very spirtual significance to us in that we are living out the very thing Christ did for us when we love and care for orphans. (Not to mention that adopted children are great blessings to us - beyond words!!) We are in ministry and most people who visit our blog know a little about us/our ministry. I'm sorry for not being clear about whom I was speaking. Feel free to ask any more questions! Don't mind at all! - Blessings! Cindy Foote
Margie said…
Thanks, Cindy, I appreciate your response and respect your commitment. Please, please include in your prayers one that grants everyone who works in adoption the wisdom to know when adoption is appropriate for a child in need, and the grace to recognize that this is not always be the case. Pray, too, that we adoptive parents never forget that the blessing we see in adoption may be a curse to our children and their parents, who spend entire lives searching and grieving for each other. Honesty, truth and adoptive parent humility are in short supply in adoption - please spare a prayer for them as well.

Thank you for your willingness to explain, I appreciate it.

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