CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: A Community Commitment

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WIMPY

By W.T. Wimpy Hiroto

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No matter oth­er media outlets, there is only one way to reach out to a diverse Japanese American com­munity: The Rafu Shimpo. Crossroads to Somewhere is turning over its usual space allocation to two e-mails received last week.)

Dear family and friends

I am sending you this email for your help in finding a bone mar­row match for my cousin, Krissy Kobata. Krissy has a pre-leukemia condition called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and is in need of a bone marrow transplant in order to survive. Our family has been hosting bone marrow drives and trying to get the word out. Our efforts have found matches for other people in need (Italics mine) but have not found Krissy’s match. I am contacting you to see if you would help spread the word.

Krissy is a beautiful, well spoken, and poised 27-year-old in need of a bone marrow transplant in order to save her life. She is bi-racial: half Caucasian and half Japanese de­scent. Therein lies the problem. Non-related bone marrow matches are more likely made within the same ethnic group. There is a very small percentage of minorities (Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, etc.) in the bone marrow registry.

Our family put together a team called “TEAM KRISSY.” We have been working with Asians for Mir­acle Marrow Matches (A3M) which is under the umbrella of the National Marrow Donor program. Please visit her website to learn more about Krissy and bone marrow registration: www.teamkrissy.com.

This year, Krissy has appeared in a health segment on our local KABC news with Denise Dador, and the show, “Extra!” Her appearance on Extra! Was credited with inspiring over 2300 people to register…

[Below] is a plea she wrote the other night… We’re really running out of time.

Paul Shinto

Dear family and friends

I’m writing for a few reasons. The first and foremost is to say thank you. Thank you for all of your sup­port over the past year and a half. One thing I know is that I would not be where I am today without all the love, support and help that has come forward. With that said, it has been one year and nine months since I was diagnosed and I am still looking for my match. While it has been a long road, we have been inspired along the way from meeting other patients and their families fighting the same fight. We’ve also had good news that others have found their matches through all of our efforts. These are the things that I keep reminding myself—lives have been saved.

Unfortunately, this summer, and even up until two weeks ago, we experienced the darker side of this disease. I was heartbroken when I learned that three patients who I have gotten to know through all of this lost their battle. Two more had their diseases progress into aggressive Leukemia. I can’t quite describe the sadness I felt in my heart when I heard the news. To be honest a lot of it was also fear. I’m afraid that this nightmare could become my reality.

This is why I am pleading again for your help. I am going to find my match, but I need each and every one of you to help me. My family and I are in a race against time and we will not lose this battle. At this point I’ve had several opportunities to speak to groups about bone marrow registra­tion and donation. I’ve also had the great opportunity to be (on televi­sion) to spread knowledge.

Each time I am asked the same two questions: “Are you scared?” and “How does it affect your life?” My answers are always the same. “Yes” and “Every day I wake up I hope to­day is the day I find my match”…

Love always,

Krissy

How you can help:

1) Register online: http/www.facebook.com/1/9cOca; www.join.bethematch.org/swab4krissy;

2) Notify friends and encourage them to register (the more hapas, the better;

3) If unable to register but wish to donate to Team Krissy, submit donations to A3M (a 501(c)3 non-profit);

4) An opportunity for Sansei/Yon­sei to stand up and be counted.

[Crossroads to Somewhere is neither acquainted with nor related to either Paul Shinto or Krissy Ko­bata.]

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W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions ex­pressed in this column are not neces­sarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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