Friday, January 20, 2006

Help Save a Life

Our friend Jeff asked us to spread the word about a pal of his, Christine Pechera, who has been diagnosed with a rare and extremely aggressive form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She managed to beat back the cancer a few years ago -- but now it has returned.

Christine's doctors are specifically looking for anyone of Filipino descent to get tested, on the off-chance they might be a match.

Some info we received from Christine's friends via email:

The survival rates are not good. The fact that it's the same cancer is the worst possible news, because it means that it did not respond to treatment.

Medically, the only option Christine has left is a Bone Marrow Transplant. The survival rate of this procedure is 30-40%. Of those who do survive the procedure itself, only 50% survive the next two years. However, if she does survive those two years, it means the cancer won't come back.

This is a pretty terrible option. However, the non medical option is also horrible. Her doctor says that if she chooses not to have the Bone Marrow Transplant, she'll be dead within a year.

We need to find her a bone marrow donor. This is hard enough for the average person. There are over 20,000 types of bone marrow, so the average person has a 1 in 20,000 chance of finding a match.

These numbers are even worse for Christine. Because she is Filipino, she needs to find a donor of the same ethnic background, and there are hardly any Filipinos on the National Registry.

Because we caught the cancer early, right now is our best chance of having the Bone Marrow Transplant work. Every day we lose her chances of surviving drop.

So please, contact your friends, and ask them to contact their friends. Anyone you know who is Filipino and between the ages of 18 and 61 is a potential donor. The system is nationwide, so it doesn't matter where they live. Signing up on the registry is easy and painless. All it requires is a simple blood test.

If you're here in Southern California, Christine's friends suggest you contact Asian Miracle Matches ( at 1-888-236-4673. They're organizing free registry drives and expediting processing for Filipinos in Southern California to help her find her match in time.

For others across the nation, check out this MySpace site for details.

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