Sunday, May 11, 2008

Please Save Her.

I just learned that my friend, practically my cousin, needs to find a match for her bone marrow transplant by June 21st . Please read the letter below and widely distribute.

It is illegal for Gay Men to Donate Blood. See article here.

The FDA banned any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 from giving blood [or bone marrow]. At San Jose State, this has caused so much controversy that they banned blood donation drives all together. I've known this since sophomore year of college, and since then I've used it as an excuse so that I do not HAVE to donate blood.

I am scared. Scared of needles and this ban provided some sort of guilt relief because when people ask me, Have I donated yet... instead of saying, "no... um.. because, well, I'm selfish." I say, "no, because the US is a fucked up country who thinks my blood is disease infested!"

But now, I regret this excuse because it has prohibited me from saving an individual who become a part of my family. It doesn't matter that I've heard it so often "save a life! ... blah blah... SAVE A LIFE!" only when it hit close home that I feel utterly frustrated that I can't do anything because of legality... because of homophobia.

Before you can donate blood, they ask screening questions to see if you are qualified. One of them asks, "Have you had sex with other men?" They should rephrase the question: "So NOW you want to try to save a life, well, your gay blood is STILL unwelcomed, do you want to lie, break a law and continue?"

My parents registered.
My mom asked me if I want to. I told her they wont let me... because I'm gay.
She responds, .. "I don't get it... it's the human body."

I guess Gays aren't human.

Please help.

Hi everyone,

Please take a moment to read this email. Michelle, has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), which is a cancer of the blood. She is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant. Michelle is 26 years old -- she is an incredible human being and friend. Michelle was first diagnosed in February 2007. This past week we learned Michelle had relapsed and her cancer had returned.

Michelle, a Chinese-Vietnamese American and Berkeley alum, urgently needs our help in giving her a new chance at life. She is undergoing chemotherapy at present but needs to find a match for her bone marrow transplant by June 21st .

Fortunately, you can help. Let's use the power of the net to save her life…something that couldn't be done years ago, but is now possible.

Three Things You Can Do
1. Please get registered.

Getting registered is quick and requires a simple cheek swab and paperwork (10 minutes of your time). If you are actually a match, the donation process is VERY similar to giving blood.

We have created an organization called "Project Michelle" ( to increase the number of Asians registered in the bone marrow registry. Our goal is to enroll 15,000 Asians. Her match is most likely to come from a person of Asian descent, however, very few Asians are actually in the registry and this makes it very difficult for doctors to find them a match. This is why we need your help.

We are currently organizing drives nationwide, and I need you to get registered by visiting a local drive. Please check our website for information about drives in your area (

You can also get registered easily by ordering a free home kit Please indicate in the additional notes box of your test materials "For Michelle. To be expedited.".

2. Organize a drive.

Organize a drive in your community (workplace, church, community center , etc.)

At a minimum, please share this email message with at least 20 people, and ask them to do the same. Please point your friends to local drives, ask them to get registered, and organize a drive in their own community.

Please use the power of your address book to spread this message – today more than ever before, we can achieve broad scale and be part of a large online movement to save lives.

3. Learn more

To learn more, please visit ( The site includes more details on how to organize your own drive, valuable information about leukemia, plus FAQs on registering.

Thank you for getting registered and joining this effort to help Michelle win her fight against leukemia – and for helping others who may face blood disorders in the future.

With love,

Friends and Family of Michelle

* * * * *

FAQs on Bone Marrow Transplant

How do I know if I'm a match?

If you are found to be a possible match, you will be contacted by the National Registry or your local center. You will be presented with the option of proceeding to the next level of testing.

How my marrow is collected?

The most common procedure is peripheral blood stem cell collection. You are given injections to support overproduction of marrow, which is then released into your circulating blood. The cells are collected by removing blood from a vein in your arm during a simple procedure. This is very similar to donating blood – isn't it amazing that it's that easy to save someone's life?!

1 comment:

Huy said...

I think your association of blood donation with bone marrow / stem cell donation may be misleading.

The restrictions may just be completely different. Remembering that sometimes restrictions are just in place because testing all the donated blood may be too costly; but for bone marrow / stem cell donation, that may not be the case. I also cannot donate blood for reasons like living in Europe in the 80s (mad-cow scare). This did not prevent me from registering for bone marrow donation (I may have had to note my blood donation restrictions on the application, though). In any case, bone marrow / stem cell donations are much more critical than blood, so I would expect the restrictions to be significantly relaxed because there are more extensive tests performed on the donors.