Good thoughts, memories and work to do

Everyone, please say a prayer, send a good thought, do whatever you do to ask for blessings or wish for luck for Judy today! She has a scan this morning, and like everyone, I'm wishing hoping and most of all praying for completely remission and healing. We're all with you, Judy!!!

Julia's been visiting recently. Everywhere I go, there are little signs of her - most noticeably on her blog, which was recently updated by someone who loves her with a song that brought serious tears to my eyes. Stranger still, a good friend of Julia's heard this song on a recent visit to one of Julia's favorite restaurants. For me the sign was small and even silly: I walked around one morning with an earring caught in my necklace, a particular earring that Julia and I had chatted about that my kids bought me last year.

Another post on Julia's blog sent me to that of a young woman, Erica Murray, who has been fighting the same disease as Julia for three years. Erica isn't an adoptee; she is biracial, which poses particular challenges in finding a match. She is at the end of her battle; friends and family are waiting for the inevitable. Reading the last post there drove me to the first, nearly three years earlier and at the very beginning of her battle.

It's just not right that the possibility exists to help save a life, but that we don't jump all over it. And so I today am making two pleas:
  • That everyone, and particularly those who are multiracial or non-white, register to become marrow donors. The registration process is ridiculously easy - the swab of a cheek. Donating certainly takes commitment and isn't without risk, but think of the benefits! And even if you have registered already, your work isn't done - we need to keep awareness high. I've organized National Marrow Donor Program bone marrow drives through my workplace and through Korean Focus, and would be happy to talk to anyone who is interested about how it's done. There's also good information on the NMDP and the Asian American Donor Program sites about conducting drives. You can also request a test kit to use at home, on the NMDP and AADP sites.
  • That all mothers bank their cord blood. In one of her last posts, Julia talked about cord blood, and how it could have helped her. It was particularly poignant because she was an adoptee, but honestly it's something EVERY mother should be thinking about. Of course, I'm saying this knowing absolutely nothing about how to do it, or even if there are restrictions that prevent some women from doing so. A quick internet search brought up a number of private registries, along with a 501c3 information site called A Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Banks, that can get you started. The NDMP and AADP sites also provide information about cord blood benefits and banking.

    Edited to add: Reader Jen made an excellent point that I pass on to you all with thanks to Jen:

    "I would challenge all expectant moms to consider *donating* cord blood rather than banking (banking generally refers to storing it for your own children's future use). The statistical liklihood of one's own children needing it in the future are so slim, but the liklihood that somewhere out there a child will need it and be a match to donated cord blood is pretty good!"
Bone marrow and cord blood transplants can't cure every cancer, nor can they cure every person even when they are appropriate treatments. But they increase chances at beating the cancers they treat. Please, please use your voices to spread the word!

Comments

a Tonggu Momma said…
There is a Chinese adoptee of Hakka descent that needs a bone marrow transplant. Fortunately, they found a donor for her this week, but our SWI (orphanage) group spent Thanksgiving talking about how we could all help. (The orphanage resides in a county that is about 80% Hakka.) I struggled with thoughts of getting the Tongginator tested and worrying about the ethics of it since she is so young and, in effect, can't really give informed consent. I feel so relieved that a donor was found.
Margie said…
I believe you have to be 18 to register, so she would have been too young anyway - P tried to register early in high school, and had to wait until he turned 18. It's good that you're thinking about this, though, because it sends a strong message.

I'm glad to hear that the adoptee you write about found a donor!!
Judy said…
Thank you so much, Margie. I had my CT scan, and of course the procedure itself went well. Now to wait for the results. I expect to find out next Tues. when I go in for my maintenance chemo treatment, but I'm calmer about everything now. I truly believe that's due to everyone's prayers and good wishes, and I'm grateful for all of them.

With love,
Judy
Jen said…
Margie- thanks for making those please- they are near and dear to my heart!

I would challenge all expectant moms to consider *donating* cord blood rather than banking (banking generally refers to storing it for your own children's future use). The statistical liklihood of one's own children needing it in the future are so slim, but the liklihood that somewhere out there a child will need it and be a match to donated cord blood is pretty good! And for some of us who aren't biologically related to our kids, donated cord blood might be their only hope if they needed stem cell transplant!

Judy- sending all kinds of hope-filled, positive thoughts for CLEAR SCANS!
Margie said…
Jen, thank you for that clarification - clearly I don't understand the logistics! I'll add a note!

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