What if you could save someone’s life for $50?
Peter Nguyen shared with me the story of Jonah Nathan Chuang this morning:
Jonah was born to us a full term healthy 8 pound baby boy on August 2, 2007. We were so happy to have him home – the result of many prayers and medical help since we had great difficulty conceiving him. He was doing well at home until he developed a fever on August 25. His 3 year old brother, Ethan, had caught a cold in daycare, and we thought that was all it was going to be.
He began antibiotics for a mild pneumonia, but the doctors were surprised to find his blood counts were quite low. They then found that his liver and lymph nodes were larger than expected, his liver function was declining, his blood counts were falling to dangerous levels, and his body was not able to clot properly. Some of his test results were the worst that doctors had seen.
Jonah was diagnosed with HLH (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis), a rare condition where one of the immune cells attacks and eats all other blood cells. Although not cancer, it acts and is treated like a cancer. There is a high chance that the problem is genetic, and we were heartbroken to hear that his brother, Ethan, may also be at risk (testing underway).
At 4 weeks old, Jonah began chemotherapy. If he responds, he will need a bone marrow transplant by the end of October. If he does not respond, he will need one sooner. His chances of cure and survival with a transplant are 60-70% if a match is found.
The doctors say the donor registry does not have a lot of Asians. They suggested that we organize drives to increase Jonah’s chance for a match. We plead with each of you to be screened – his only hope is if we find a match. You could save his life.
Please see if you can help. My wife who is a hematopathologist at a children’s hospital says that the cost of registering your blood marrow could cost $50, but because there are not many Asians on the registry, it is far more valuable than that. I plan to get tested soon. If the $50 to get registered is an issue, please let me know. I would be glad to help you foot the bill. Time is of the essence.