The day after Christmas 2015 is particularly significant for Jane Yin. It started out simple enough with a routine blood test to double check why she was all of a sudden bruising so easily along having some random red dots pop up all over her body. The day ended with Jane in the emergency room to hear some startling news.
It turns out that the bruising and petechiae, those little red dots, were the symptoms of a rare and life threatening disease that would send Jane and her family down the road to find a stranger that would have her life. That disease was Leukemia.
Worldwide, Leukemia impacts 352,000 people (2012 data), which represents 2.5% of all cancers. Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that affects your bone marrow. In Jane’s case, she a specific type known as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), which is a more rapidly growing variety. This makes it urgent to find a bone marrow donor for her.
Jane has been looking for a donor via Be the Match, a US national registry for bone marrow donors and recipients. To get on the registry is really simple. A potential donor signs up and gets a kit in the mail. A swab of your cheek is the only thing required to be a potential match. The donation process has improved tremendously over the years and is the same basic process as donating blood.
The likelihood of a match and a subsequent donation is 1 in 540. For those of Asian decent (like Jane), the odds are even worse because Asians only make up 5% of the registry. That is why Jane has expanded her search to communities of Asians outside the United States, such as the UK. In the process of her search and encouragement of people to get tested to be a donor, she hopes that many others in need can find their match too.
Here is Jane Yin’s Facebook page, where you can find out more.