May is National Asian/Pacific Islander American (APIA) Heritage Month. In recognition of the month, members of Asian American Student Union have contributed articles from their recent Asian American Awareness Week to spotlight important issues within the APIA community. Chasidy Clark writes about the joint efforts of student organizations to raise awareness about bone marrow registration.
On May 3, 2012, over 20 student organizations collaborated to hold a campus-wide Bone Marrow Registry Drive. Volunteers from fraternities, sororities, multicultural organizations, and faith-based organizations came together as a unified body to raise awareness about the importance of bone marrow registration and expand the national bone marrow bank.
The drive was in support of Janet Liang, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She needs to find a perfect bone marrow match by June, which is her only option for recovery. Bone marrow matches are dependent upon matching tissue types rather than blood type, and since Janet is Chinese-American, an Asian American donor is the most likely to be her match. Despite her personal struggles, Janet has inspired others by raising awareness about the severe gap of registered bone marrow donors within the Asian American community. (*Text via MSC and AASU Facebook Event Page)
At the drive, volunteers provided information to help clear misconceptions that the registration process was painful (it’s through a swabbing process). The flow of information helped immensely in keeping the student body informed and aware about the difference that they would be making for someone else’s life. The student volunteers persevered through rain and shine to working towards their goal of collecting registrants and sharing information. When the rain came pouring down, students dealt with the remaining traffic and improvised with tarps as umbrellas before moving indoors. It is important to acknowledge the hard work that so many students poured into the event: advertising it, working it, and being professional. We came together to save lives.
Sign up for Team Janet here to be part of her mission to register as many Asian American as possible. You could be the life-saving match, for Janet, or for someone else. Her current efforts and national campaign have registered almost 20,000 donors and found matches for several patients.
Chasidy Clark is the Social Chair of Asian American Student Union, as well as a PEOPLE and CeO scholar. She is currently majoring in International Studies.