A call to action. A cry for help. An opportunity for you to realize your power to give strength to someone affected by a blood cancer (Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma). Get involved. Make someone stronger.
Monica is a fun-loving, driven young lady, she graduated as a Political Science major at UCLA and then challenged herself to complete her MBA – which she did in just one year at SJSU. At 26 Monica was thrown a curve ball, she was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia, a disease of the bone marrow where the bone marrow stops making enough red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets for the body. Severe Aplastic Anemia is such a rare condition that the therapies for treatment are also few and far between. It’s a disease that affects only 5 in 1 million.
To date Monica has been undergoing immunosuppressive therapy. This therapy kills off all her white cells, to give the other cells a chance to grow. As a result her condition makes her at risk for life threatening infections or bleeding. There are two types of these therapies and Monica has yet to successfully react positively to either. Since being diagnosed, Monica has not been able to lead a normal life. The more she exerts herself the more cells are used up, reducing her overall cell count making her more prone to infections and diseases. As a result she stays isolated, keeps to a strict diet and juggles her 17-odd medications a day. Her only chance for a cure is a Bone Marrow Transplant.
Monica is my younger cousin and I’ve watched her grow up and blossom into a beautiful young lady. She always has a zest for life, from a young age she took a liking to dance and gymnastics. We soon became her audience as she rhythmically entertained us. Her perspective on life is always positive, refreshing and well beyond her years.
If you asked her friends and family, they would say that Monica is the type of person who everyone wishes they had as a best friend, sister, daughter, girlfriend or acquaintance. She has a heart of gold and a shining star who’s always there for her loved ones. As soon as she heard about her rare condition, the first thing she did was reach out to the ones closest to her and asked them to live their life to the fullest. To not focus on the daily duties, but focus on the bigger picture in life – because even at her age – she wished she had lived a little more. She also thanked anyone who had donated blood in the past, as the transfusions she’s been getting almost weekly are getting her through these tough times.
We have not found a match in her immediate or extended family, our only option is to get an unrelated donor. Today if you are a White Caucasian your chances of finding a donor are 1 in 8. For Monica, being South Asian, her chances are 1 in 22,000. This is simply because there aren’t enough South Asians registered to be Bone Marrow donors. There’s also not enough information on registering and the donation process, so often people are left confused and fearful of being added to the registry. What is not well known is that registering takes 10 minutes and requires swabbing the inside of your cheek – no blood test is required. Also in 75% of cases donating Bone Marrow is a procedure that is similar to donating blood and invasive surgery may not be required.
Today we’re dancing a different rhythm as she fights to gain back her normal life. My goal is simple, to find a Bone Marrow Donor for my cousin so she can continue her zest for life and dance to her hearts content.
To help Monica attend the Bone Marrow Drive, get swabbed, enjoy happy hour drink prices and complimentary appetizers at Van Diemens Bar.
Cure Monica Happy Hour & Drive
Date: August 25th
Address: Van Diemens bar, 383 3rd Ave, New York (between 27th and 28th Streets)
Logon to facebook and sign up: https://www.facebook.com/events/604395966257883/
To learn more visit http://curemonica.org/