A Bone to Pick
Date Added: June 21, 2001
When it comes to "help the kids" chains, even true ones will circulate long after they are no longer needed.
Please forward this, the more people who go down and get tested the better his chances will be
Subject: Need Bond Marrow Donors
I have a son name Vincent, he is just 8 month old and he has Leukemia. He is now receiving the chemotherapy at Stanford children hospital. But the Doctor says he must have a bone marrow transplant. All my family have already been tested and none of us matched his, So I am sending this massage to ask for all of you out there to give Vincent a hope and big help please. We need all volunteers to go take a simple blood test. It is just a blood test see your bone marrow match with Vincent. The bigger percentage match is Asian.
Here is what you can do for your blood test: please call your local American Red Cross. In San Jose it located on 2731 N First Street. Phone # is 577-1000. or also you can contact National Marrow Donor Program at 1-800-548-1375 ask for the Patient Advocary Program. At Stanford please contact Diane Hill at 650-723-5532.
Please forward this massage to all your Asian friends.
Thank you for all your support and for your open heart.
This one was a prime example of good intentions with bad execution. At the time this chain began circulating in 2001, Cherie S. Evans, M.D, Chief Medical Officer of the American Red Cross Blood Services, Northern California Region told BreakTheChain.org that Vincent's story was real, but that her organization did not authorize this chain letter:
"While American Red Cross, Northern California Region Bone Marrow Program did not know Mr. Luu planned to take this approach, his characterization of the situation is accurate. We are a Donor Center and part of both Red Cross Blood Services and the National Bone Marrow Donor Program. In that capacity we are working through our Registries to try to find a donor but a good match has yet to be found. Bone Marrow transplantation is often the best, even only, way to cure children with leukemia but the donor needs to be essentially an exact tissue match for the patient. There are thousands of different tissue types so matches are not always available quickly. These types are often shared by individuals of the same ethnic or racial groups.
"He is correct that the best chance he has of finding a match is to increase the number of individuals of Asian heritage that are typed and volunteer to donate if a match. I am sure you can understand how desperate a parent must be when their child is facing something like this."
Amy Burger, the media and public relations coordinator for the National Marrow Donor Program told BreakTheChain.org that "the family is correct that the most likely match will be somebody from one's own racial or ethnic group and they are right that Asians and Pacific Islanders are urgently needed to make the commitment and become volunteer marrow and blood stem cell donors." While she is glad that awareness of the need for marrow donors is being spread via e-mail, she had some concerns about vital information Mr. Luu's message lacks:
Call the NMDP's toll-free information line at 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit their web site (www.marrow.org) for more information about the registry, guidelines for being a donor, how to find a donor center near you and alternative ways you can help (such as plasma and blood donation).
While his intentions were good and his motivation understandable, Mr. Luu perhaps didn't understand the lasting reach of e-mail nor its limitations as an information tool. Yes, this was a genuine cause and a little boy really needed help. Unfortunately, this message was destined to become a long-lived chain letter that will circulated long after Vincent Luu has gotten past this difficult time in his young life.
Don't tie the hands of those trying to help with misguided calls. Seriously consider being a marrow donor and break this chain by sending useful information about the National Marrow Donor Program to your friends and family instead of forwarding this message. If you want to do what this message tries to do, set up a blood/bone marrow drive by calling 1-800-Give-Life and ask for Donor Recruitment.