Dear MommiesFirst Friends,
A little over a month ago, I received a message about a classmate of mine, Nina, who was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Nina has endured 7 rounds of aggressive chemotherapy to tackle the disease, but after only two months of remission, the lymphoma returned. The aggressiveness of the lymphoma requires an urgent stem cell transplant. Nina is currently still in search of finding a compatible bone marrow donor, and now only has one month to do so.
When the email from Nina’s friends arrived in my inbox asking for my help to find a stem cell donor, I couldn’t help but feel connected to Nina. I didn’t know her at school, but I KNOW her now. While at school, we were just two students amongst a class of many. But since graduation, our lives changed and converged. Nina and I become mothers. Nina is a mom to a handsome 2-year old son, Donovan. I see the images of her and her family and her baby boy and I want to fight for her. In fact, want to fight for all the moms who are bravely battling life-threatening illnesses and endure with grace because more than being sick they are moms and they fight not for their lives, but for their babies’ futures.
I know you don’t know Nina, but I am confident that as moms we KNOW her pain and understand her fears. When I first started MommiesFirst, above all I envisioned/ hoped to build a community of mothers who would come together in a safe place to be honest and supportive. I apologize that I’m using a monthly box service to tell a story about a sick mom fighting to save her life, but then again I can’t think of a better place to share Nina’s story. To help save Nina and let a fellow mom live to see her son grow up, here’s what you can do:
1) Sign up for the bone marrow registry personally to see if you could be a match for Nina. There are links at www.savenina.com to learn more about being tested at a registry drive in Los Angeles or San Francisco or at home via a free mail-in kit in the US. It only takes a cheek swab! (and keep checking www.facebook.com/ninaneedsyou to learn more about efforts to expand the drives beyond Los Angeles and San Francisco and for country-specific testing options outside of the US)
2) Reach out to your friends and family and ask them to (a) register themselves and (b) spread the word through their own networks. The process to find a match (the cheek swab) is simple – virtually all of you will be eligible and/or will have HUNDREDS of friends and family members that are eligible as well. Nina particularly needs anyone of Asian heritage to register, as patients are most likely to find a donor within their own race.
Thank you for reading. With love and care,