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.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

News story about Tami and her donor Scott

CLICK HERE to read the entire article

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Wish Upon a Wedding Shining Star Award

Hi Everyone, this is Stacie (Tami's cousin who posts for her in this blog and keeps the Helping Tami website up to date) here. Some of you may not realize that for the past 13 years I have been self employed working in the Northern California wedding industry. Wish Upon a Wedding (a wedding wish granting non-profit that gives weddings to terminally ill patients) wanted to recognize the volunteer efforts individuals within the wedding industry make in the hopes their stories may encourage more people to get involved in volunteerism.
The Shining Star Award

The Shining Star award is their way to thank and pay tribute to the professionals who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. The Board of Directors of the Northern California chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding selected three individuals to recognize.

Recently I attended the Blissful Wishes Ball. I, along with my colleagues Gustavo Fern├índez (who created Hogs for Kids and volunteers for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and Rich Amooi (who supports Second Harvest Food Bank and Humane Society of Silicon Valley) were all given recognition for our commitment to community service, volunteerism, and the advocacy work we do. We were told one of us would be awarded the Shining Star award at the gala...

And I'm very honored to be able to say I was given the award for the work I've done supporting Be The Match (The National Marrow Donor Program) through my and websites. Thank you so much to founder Liz Guthrie and the Board of Directors for the recognition. When you do volunteer work you don't expect anything back so it means a lot that others feel what I am doing is worthy of such an honor.

Here's the thing though, to me this really is an industry award meaning I feel it recognizes most of my friends in the wedding industry including Rich and Gustavo. While some of us may have created ways to support causes or we volunteer to help existing organizations on a regular basis, almost all of my friends donate their time and services several times a year to their friends, colleagues, local schools, non-profits, foundations and engaged couples who can't always afford the wedding they deserve. There are also many unsung heroes in the special events industry who donate their time, energy and money to help others but choose not to publicize what they do so I want to share this award with all of them as well.

If you've never volunteered before I encourage you to consider finding time in your busy schedule to help others. Whatever your strengths and passions are there is most likely some non-profit, foundation or community service organization that would appreciate your help. From granting wedding wishes, to helping at a bone marrow donor drive, mentoring programs, hospitals, hospices, soup kitchens, food banks, animal shelters, literacy programs, building houses, community gardens and fundraising there are countless way you can reach out and help others who, for one reason or another, aren't able to help themselves. is a great place to start. Just go to their home page, drop in your zip code and a list of local organizations that need your help will pop up. It's that easy to find out who needs you.

If you would like to help me by supporting Be The Match please visit Helping to learn how you can become a marrow or stem cell donor. It was through the generosity of an anonymous donor that my cousin's life was saved. You might be able to help save a life too.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Critical Need for Black Marrow and Stem Cell Donors Exists

There are currently 23 Black patients waiting for an unrelated stem cell donor in Canada. Many more are waiting worldwide. With the help of international searches, maybe 4 of these 23 Canadians will find a lifesaver. To give you a better idea of the need if these 23 patients were Caucasian, 15-16 would be able to find matches within the international registry as opposed to 4.

Also needed are people of mixed ethnicities meaning if you are Black and Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, Latino, Native American or any other ethnic combination your participation in the donor program is desperately needed as patients of mixed heritage have an even harder time finding a marrow or stem cell match. Their chance of finding match is even less than 4 in 23.

The range to begin effective matching is 10,000 - 20,000 potential donors. The optimal number of Black donors in Canada is 70,000 - 80,000. As you'll see below the actual statistics are currently less than 2000, a fraction of the range needed to effectively find a match for Black patients in need.

By The Numbers 2010:

New black registrants in Canada between Oct 2009 and 2010: 211
Total Black registrants in Canada in October 2010: 1644

New black registrants in Quebec between October 2009 and 2010: 3
Total Black registrants in Quebec in October 2009: 65

By The Numbers 2009:

New black registrants in Canada between Oct 2008 and 2009: 217
Total Black registrants in Canada in October 2009: 1433

New black registrants in Quebec between October 2008 and 2009: 38
Total Black registrants in Quebec in October 2009: 62 

Where to go in Canada to learn how to join the donor program:
In Quebec:
In Canada:
In the United Kingdom:

In the U.S. you can register through If you are a match for a Canadian patient your stem cells can be harvested here in the U.S. and flown to Canada, or anywhere in the world, to help save a patient's life. The truth is that with the exceptions of South Africa and the island of Martinique, most of the countries and islands that where Black ethnic groups are predominate do not have marrow registration organizations (this includes most of Africa) so it's crucial for people of Black ethnicities who want to help and live in countries that do have registries to join them and become part of the international donor pool.

I keep a list on the Helping website where you can see if the country you live in has a registry. CLICK HERE to view the international list of registries.

My friend Tamu posted these Canadian statistics on Facebook today. Tamu lost her brother Emru to Leukemia on November 11, 2008. There is a critical need for marrow and stem cell donors but particularly donors who are Black as they are grossly under represented in the national and international marrow registries. This means people from all Black geographic regions including people from Africa and the West Indies (Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados) are needed to be potential donors to patients in need.