To Read Tami's Story from the Beginning

Just CLICK HERE. Her blog begins on March 12, 2009 with a post titled "Tami's Myelodysplasia Diagnosis." Then at the bottom of each post, click on the words "Newer Post" located just below the comments section on each page.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Helping Matt and Chloe Win a Dream Wedding!

Some of you may remember our friend Matthew Nguyen whose Leukemia relapsed last year at around the same time Tami was diagnosed with her Myelodysplasia. Matthew had to wait until last fall to receive a transplant but is now, like Tami, on the mend and wanting to move forward with his life.

Their love story.

After 3 engagement years, 2 attempts at wedding planning, and 1 cancer-free groom, they are ready to tie the knot!! They're fellow Bruins who fell in love and are elated to start their lives together. Wedding plans started in March 2007 but abruptly halted when Matt was diagnosed with leukemia. A year of chemo and Matt in remission, try #2 at plans for a May 2009 wedding. 3 months before the wedding, with all plans set, Matt relapsed and again, their wedding came second to leukemia. With a successful transplant last September, they are now ready to finally say our I-do!

Please vote for them to win the Crate and Barrel $100,000 wedding giveaway at the link below. Finalists are chosen by those with the highest vote counts:


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bid on a Custom Cartoon Illustration of You

This Auction is now Closed

Congratulations Michelle who won with a $175.00 bid

Bidding Began at $50.00

All proceeds will be donated in their entirety to help my friend and recovering Marrow Transplant Patient Roger Contreras. If you've been wanting to commission a custom, flirty, "Cartoon You" illustration (similar to the one of Tami), here is a great opportunity to order one and help someone in need at the same time. Pricing for a custom illustration normally begins at $250. This week I will be offering a single illustration* in an auction to help my friend Roger. Bidding will begin at $50 and last until noon (PST) Friday, Feb. 26th, 2010.
I will update the most current bid as quickly as possible here in this blog post.

Current Bid is:
$175.00 by Michelle

CLICK HERE to PLACE YOUR BID and to view the Terms and Conditions *The llustration includes a $250, head to toe, empty handed version (like the first one in the image above) of a custom cartoon similar to those seen on the website that can be used for many purposes including on invitations, a business card/letterhead design or as an online web/blog/social media site avatar of yourself. If you would like the cartoon to be holding any item(s) additional fees will apply. Those fees will also be donated to Roger Contreras. Even after receiving chemo and losing his hair Roger was always smiling. With his sister/marrow donor after his transplant Roger was still smiling. As the year progressed and the complications set in and his recovery was set back further and further the pictures he posted contained fewer and fewer smiles. I'm just hoping this fundraising effort will help to put a little smile back on his face. Roger, a plumber by trade, has been unable to work ever since receiving his marrow transplant in March of 2009. This means he has been unable to earn any income for over a year as his illness (Myelodysplasia, the same blood cancer my cousin Tami also suffered from) had incapacitated him for much of 2008. Most patients who receive transplants cannot work for at least one year. Roger has had numerous post transplant complications that look as if they will keep him out of the work force even longer. You can just imagine how difficult it must be to be stressed over finances while trying to recover from a major medical procedure. This auction was the only idea I could come up with to help Roger. Please know your bid will be going to help a very deserving individual.

A BBQ Benefit is being held in Houston, TX to help pay for Roger's final round of cancer treatment

Date & Time: Saturday, March 6th at 1:00pm - 6:00pm

Where: Vara's Sport's Bar 2727 North Freeway Houston, TX 77009-3808 (North between Calvalcade & Patton) To see more details and RSVP on Facebook just CLICK HERE

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Update on Tami

Day +232 Post Transplant

I spoke to Tami yesterday by phone. The good news is there is no bad news persay. She continues to recover slowly but steadily.

Some of the pain in her joints has subsided slightly. There is a chance that this pain may be long term or permanent caused by the the chemo she received to prepare her for her transplant. Hopefully that won't be the case.

She is feeling better but is still too tired to be able to do the normal, everyday, things she would like to do. Because of a medication she is still taking she isn't driving yet. Being chauffeured around for the past year it will probably feel a little strange when she is able to finally start driving again.

On the good news front, she is not suffering from any active GVHD flare ups and her hair is continuing to grow back in :) Talking to her on the phone she sounds just like her old self. It's very comforting just to hear her voice.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Canadian National Chinese Stem Cell Drive: March 27, 4 Locations

More then 20 Chinese ethnicity patients in Canada are searching for a stem cell donor that could save their lives. People 17-50 years of age are needed to join the Canadian OneMatch registry.

In the U.S. people 18-60 years of age can join the National Marrow Donor Program at any time and their results will also be checked to help patients in Canada.

Drive Details:

Saturday, March 27, 2010
11:00 AM to 5:00 PM

First Markham Place, Markhan
3255 Highway 7 East
Markham ON, L3R 3P9
Phone #: 905-944-1629

Splendid China Mall, Scarborough
4675 Steeles Avenue East Scarborough,
ON M1V 4S5
Phone #: 416-293-8871

Chinese Gospel Church, Chinatown
450 Dundas St W
Toronto, ON, M5T 1G7
Phone #: 416-977-2530

Aberdeen Centre, Richmond
4151 Hazelbridge Way
Richmond, BC, Canada
Phone #: Phone: (604) 270-1234
Directions: On the south-west corner of Hazelbridge Way and Cambie Road, one block east of No.3 Road in central Richmond.

To learn more please visit or

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Asian Marrow Donors Urgently Needed for Natalie

Natalie is 8 years old. She has a little brother and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can visit her marrow drive website for more information about how to join the marrow registry.

After five difficult rounds of chemotherapy last year, Natalie’s leukemia was in remission. Now it’s back and she has just weeks to find the bone marrow donor match that could save her life.

Natalie's greatest chance for a match is from those of ASIAN descent. Please help spread the word through your local Asian community. It doesn't matter where in the country you live. If you are her marrow match your marrow can be collected (the process is relatively pain free) and flown to the Bay Area.

To locate a drive nationwide CLICK HERE to use the zip code locater on the National Marrow Donor Program website.

Upcoming Bay Area Drives for Natalie are at:

Pleasant Hill, CA
Host: DKMS Americas
When: Saturday February 20, 2010
Time: 9am – 4pm
Location: Gregory Gardens Elementary School
Address: 1 Corritone Ct, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Berkeley, CA
Host: DKMS Americas
When: Monday, February 22, 2010
Time: 12 noon to 6pm
Location: Pauley East, MLK Student Union on Cal Campus
Address: Telegraph & Bancroft, Berkeley, CA

Hope For Natalie Nakatani from Patrick Biesemans on Vimeo.

“There are so many wonderful things to say about Natalie. She is curious, joyful, artistic, a great big sister, intelligent, silly, loves life and loves to be around people. We love her so much that it hurts deeply to even be separated from her at the hospital. Our little girl needs an Asian donor match urgently, so please do whatever you can to make it a priority to get tested at the bone marrow drive. There are no matches for Natalie right now. We hope that you will be the special miracle that will save her life.” – the Nakatanis