While still basking in the glow of getting a world-renowned oncologist's immediate attention we received an email from Naree, one of Kim's newest friends, yesterday. To provide some context, Naree is a very recent friend of ours whom Kim literally just met this past fall as our boys and her two children were in the same tennis class. The two of them hit it off (who doesn't hit it off with Kim?) and enjoyed spending time talking to one another as they waited every week for their tennis lessons to finish. Read Naree's email pasted below (with her permission):
From: Naree P.
Date: January 19, 2012 9:47:19 AM CST
To: Kimberly Cho
Seriously? What are the chances that we just happen to be friends with one of Dr. Soni's (and her husbands) best friends? All our previous connections were second-hand and professional - now we have a very tight personal connection. Just in case there was room for any pride it was if the Lord was saying, "Your connections are not going to get you through this.I have ordained this from the beginning and watch in awe as I allow it to unfold. Your ears have heard....but now your eyes are about to see." (Job 42:5)
I have been keeping up with Peter's blog and I was so happy to hear that the hospital has let you go home! it must be wonderful for you to be back in your own bed and your children are thrilled to have you home again.
kim, it is such a small world. when i sent you the first email and told you that some of our closest friends are oncologists, soni smith was included in our list. she and her husband norm are our best friends. they went to medical school with mike (my husband) and norm was even our best man at our wedding. soni is the absolute best and I'm so thankful to hear you are under her care.
your family is in my thoughts and prayers everyday.
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? -Jeremiah 32:27
URGENT ACTION NEEDED
Many of you who have been faithfully praying for us, have been lifting up our dear 17 year old friend Andrew Park and their family in prayer too. Thank you so much!! That said, things with Andrew have taken a recent turn for the worse. Please read his blog HERE. Andrew has already begun chemotherapy and provided it is successful in bringing his cancer into remission, he will need a bone marrow donor that matches his. He needs this or quite simply - he will die. His best hope up to this point was his younger sister Emily, but they just got the results back and she is NOT a match (1 in 4 chance).
|Andrew in chemotherapy|
James 1:27 says: Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
The Lord has a great concern for the orphaned and the widows. It was that way in the Old Testament and certainly remained true in the New Testament. What I find remarkable is that while there is a word for children who lose their parents (orphans) and men and women who lose their spouse (widow/widower), I am not aware of any word which describes parents who lose their children. That said, I am convinced that there is no greater horror, and losing a child is just as heart-breaking as losing a parent or spouse (if not more). I know God understands this pain, like no other, and has a great heart of compassion for it, because He experienced the horror of losing His own Son - but He inexplicably did this on His own will....and He did it because of His great love towards us.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16
Now I had a good friend (thanks Lynn D!) do a little research for me yesterday and it turns out that it is not that difficult to be a bone marrow donor at all and it sounds more intimidating than it is - by far! To summarize here are the high-level simple steps:
1. Watch the short video below. Additional FAQ here.
2. Go to www.marrow.org and in the bottom left there is a box called "Join the Registry". (it literally took me 10 minutes) Even if you register there is only a 1 in 540 chance that you will be a fit to donate your bone marrow, but how will you know if you don't even register?!?
3. All you need to provide is a simple "cheek swab sample" to register and see if there is a match. This can be done by registering on-line (here) and you will receive a packet to provide a sample and return.
4. If you are found to be a match with someone you will be contacted and it is a simple procedure and you will get a couple of shots (very minor pain if any) in your lower back and a small portion of marrow will be extracted. (Kim did it for her bone-marrow biopsy - it really is not that bad). The worst you will feel is that your butt or lower back is sore for 3 days. What a small price to pay to save a life!!!
5. The typical $100 fee to even register is waived this week as American Express is sponsoring donors and covering this cost - but only during the month of January. Do you see God removing all the excuses?
There is no doubt in my mind that if every "Christian" signed up and registered no person with these types of cancer would be left to die.
UPDATE: ANDREW CAN TAKE BONE MARROW FROM NON-ASIANS AS WELL AS IT IS ACTUALLY THE TISSUE IN THE BONE MARROW THAT HE NEEDS. ALSO, AGES 16 (WITH PARENTAL CONSENT) AND UP ARE ELIGIBLE TO HELP HIM.
Friends, there is especially a need for Asian bone marrow and the best donors are between the ages of 25 and 40. (this is when the bone marrow is most ideal to donate), HOWEVER anyone between 18 and 60 can still give. I am pretty certain most of you perusing this blog fit this profile. The reason why so many cancer patients cannot find a match is because so many of us (especially we Asians) refuse to register and make our life-giving bone marrow available to save others. I know for many of you (like me) there is simply a lack of awareness and quite frankly I had no idea about any of this until cancer landed on my front door. But now we know - and can no longer plead ignorance. I know a lot of Asian-Americans who are really good at praying, but we need more than that here. Please, let your faith not be an "impure and defiled religion" that looks the other way when people like Andrew Park are in dire need. Although, you may not know him personally, do not "walk around" this dying person, but be a "good neighbor" (Luke 10:25-37) and do whatever is in your power to care for him and thousands of others just like him. Even if 1,000 of you register only two will likely qualify to even give. So you can begin to understand the challenge of finding Andrew a donor. Please register today!!!
I will be setting up a separate web page ("Bone Marrow Donation") so this information will not get lost along with additional info once my pea-sized brain figures it out. There are many easy ways to register. If you feel led, you can even organize a donor registration drive for your church or school. This would be even better! Check out the same site www.marrow.org for more info on local offices and how to go about doing this!
If you feel led to register and want to be held accountable to your commitment before God and man, please enter your first name and last initial, the place you live and the date you commit. (Peter C, Chicago, 1/20/12) Not trying to be legalistic, but hopefully this promise will help you to finish what the Lord has started in your heart. I have already filled out the online form (takes 10 min) and requested my "join the registry" packet today and ask that you join me. You have virtually nothing to lose and another person has a LIFE to gain.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. -Proverbs 3:27
Embody the gospel. Live out your faith. Love as Jesus loved.
In His Grace,
Peter & Kim