Ji-eun, a 35 year-old Korean-American Mother of a 3 year-old girl and a 6 year-old boy, is dying from Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
By Anna Kim
There are many kinds of cancer. Leukemia is cancer that starts in cells that would normally develop into different types of blood cells. Most blood cells form in the bone marrow. In leukemia, immature blood cells become cancer.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) starts in the bone marrow (the soft inner part of certain bones, where new blood cells are made), but in most cases it quickly moves into the blood stream. It can sometimes spread to other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and testicles. Acute means that this leukemia can progress quickly if not treated, and would probably be fatal within a few months. Myeloid refers to the type of cell this leukemia starts from.
Ji-eun, a 35 year-old Korean-American mother of a 3 year-old girl and a 6 year-old boy, is dying from AML. Even worse, Ji-eun’s AML features a mutation that makes it 99% more likely to have a relapse even though chemotherapy puts it into remission, so she needs a bone marrow transplant to have even a fighting chance. Life expectancy without treatment is 8 months from diagnosis. Gravely, the window of opportunity for a transplant is narrow because chemotherapy is no longer effective after 4 rounds, with each round taking about 1 month. In Ji-eun's case, she is already in her second round.
Ji-eun, Washington D.C. resident, is a children's dentist who provides free or low-cost care to children from disadvantaged homes. Her patients include vulnerable children who have been neglected, abused, and even sexually trafficked. Going beyond dental care, she also offers loving kindness to children who need it.
She is a veteran of the US Navy and served as a dental officer. She lights up every space she enters, and lifts every person she meets.
She needs your help and can be saved by receiving a bone marrow transplant, which replaces the patient’s bone marrow with the marrow of a healthy donor.
Unfortunately, matches usually come from someone’s own ethnic group and the current pool of donors is mostly composed of European descendants. She and her family desperately need the Korean community’s help.
To see if you are a match, simply join the donor registry at https://join.bethematch.org/. A testing kit will be sent to your home, and all you need to do is to swab the inside of your cheek and send the kit back. If you are a match, and if you are willing to donate, then a doctor will draw liquid bone marrow from the back of your pelvic bone. Your body will replace the marrow in a few days.
Ji-eun desperately needs your help, but you shouldn’t have to target at her specifically. The donation process is anonymous, and regardless of who receives your marrow, if you are a match, then the subject could be saved by your benevolence. Please register to be a donor right away. Please be the match.
Ji-eun, a 35 year-old Korean-American mother of a 3 year-old girl and a 6 year-old boy, is dying from AML. She needs a bone marrow transplant to have even a fighting chance. <photo=Healing for Jieun Lee>
Ji-eun and her family.
Picture of blood affected by Acute Myeloid Leukemia(AML).