|You for me for us
Put yourself in my shoes for a moment
May 20, 2002
Sometimes it is easier to understand the reality of a situation when you hear
the story from real life perspective. It is easier to see the heart of a person when
they share their thoughts and take you on a journey through their experience. This
is my story, which brings to life some of the human realities of dealing with a life-threatening
illness. Please read this in its entirely, take action, and pass along.
When you look up the word "community" in the dictionary, it simply
says "body of people living in one locale" or "body of people having
religion, ethnic origin, profession, etc. in common." There is a broader community
than that, however, and that is the community I wish to address today. It is the
vast community of people who know what it means to love their families, who know
they would do anything within their power to save the lives of their loved ones.
I write for these people, which I'm sure includes most of you, because I want to
share the story of mine.
I am a father of a four-year-old. An average hardworking
family man. My son was one at the time I developed health problems that landed me
in the hospital. Within days of me going into the hospital, I was told I had Multiple
Myeloma, or bone marrow cancer.
I stared in the doctor's eyes, tried to listen what he was saying, hoping to hear
the word "cure". I could not take my eyes off him. I was numb. I could
not hear anything but my own voice. "No, it can't be. Me? I never got sick.
I hardly ever went to a doctor or catch a bad cold. Why? This happens only to other
people," I thought. What a nightmare. I was very sick. And without treatment,
I would not live.
Our family was absolutely devastated in the truest sense of the word. After going
through chemotherapy, and bone marrow transplant using my own stem cells, the cancer
went in remission. That was 20 months ago. Last January, my cancer relapsed, and
now I am going through chemotherapy again. But the doctor is recommending a match
bone marrow transplant to save my life. Without a transplant, I have only a five
percent chance of overcoming my disease.
First, I must find a donor with matching marrow. My sister is the first option as
possible donor, but she is not a match. So I now must find a donor on the National
Marrow Donor Program Registry, a computerized list of more than four million
possible donors and their marrow types.
It is sometimes very difficult to find a match. That
task is made even more difficult because I am of Iranian descent. Marrow tissue types
are inherited just like skin and hair color, meaning that a person is more likely
to find a donor within his or her own ethnic group. Unfortunately, the number of
minorities on the donor registry is not enough for all of the minorities who must
find a donor.
My future depends on how my community responds -- not just the Iranian community,
but the community of all races who love their wives, their husbands, their sons,
and their daughters. Many people are out there looking for matches throughout the
nation and the world -- people like me.
There have been patients who have found donors in places like France and Japan, bringing
to mind the words of a song: Indeed it is a "small world after all." These
people joined the donor registry, fully understanding that "community"
is not so much about living down the street from someone but reaching out to others.
I turn to my "neighbors" here in the US -- IRANIAN-American, Caucasian,
Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Native American and all the other beautiful people of different
races and backgrounds -- and encourage you to join the registry. Contact your local Blood Bank, call 1-800-marrow-2,
or visit marrow.org and find out how you can
be part of this community and give someone a second chance at life.
All it takes is a quick blood test. One of you might just be the donor for me we've
been looking for, praying for, and hoping for. One of you might be able to save the
life of someone else waiting for a donor.
Put yourself in my shoes for a moment. Think of your loved ones. Think of the times
you've shared and the memories you've made together. Dream of the future you want
to have with them. Then imagine that future falling apart, disappearing, all because
of something called Multiple Myeloma.
But I have a chance. I have hope. My hope lies in
people like you coming out to join the Registry. Perhaps you can be an answer to
someone's prayers. Join
The Registry Today.
center information by state
registered, update your address
OR Call 1-800-marrow-2