Seeking Bone Marrow Donors

June 3, 2008

For people who get leukemia and other blood cancers, bone marrow transplants can be their only hope. Only 25% of people on the donor registry are people of color. And only 2% are mixed folks! Since just 3% of Asian Americans are registered as donors, I’m so grateful that organizations the like the Asian American Donor Program are doing critical targeted outreach in the APIA community. That community outreach is saving the lives of people like Myland, Nancy, and Christine, who were able to find a match. 

So perhaps you are sitting there overwhelmed like I was when I first learned all of this. You can do something! Here are my recommendations: 
1) REGISTER as a bone marrow donor. Improved technology means it is a simple as a cheek swab (I endured the finger prick and blood sample back in the day, but you lucky ducks can just do a cheek swab). 
2) Try and be nice to any siblings you may have. No pressure, but they have a 20-30% chance to be a match. 
3) If you put on events, consider having an area where people can register. 
4) Tell your friends and family to register. 
5) Donate to organizations doing targeted outreach. 
If you are in San Francisco on June 14, get yourself registered at In-n-Out: The Drive to Increase Asian American Registered Bone Marrow Donors, an event co-sponsored by Hyphen and Chinese for Affirmative Action. 
Samara Azam, Hyphen's Advertising Director, is guest-blogging.


Momo Chang

Senior Contributing Editor

Momo Chang is the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media, and freelances for magazines, online publications, and weeklies. Her writings focus on Asian American communities, communities of color, and youth culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Her stories range from uncovering working conditions in nail salons, to stories about “invisible minorities” like Tongan youth and Iu Mien farmers. She has freelances The New York Times, WIRED, and East Bay Express, among other publications.



Samara,Thank you for writing about such an important issue.For those who want to register to become a donor, and I strongly encourage everyone to do so, go to for the free cheek swabbing kits.
Definitely a good cause. I registered as a donor myself a few years back and it takes almost no time.
Samara - you are awesome! Thanks for writing about this. Folks, please come out to the drive and support this important cause.