The “Marrow for Morrow” campaign, which has been seeking a bone marrow donor for Morrow Willis, a 28-year-old from Texas, posted the following announcement from Willis on Nov. 20:
“An update and some good news: happy to announce that after a meeting with transplant doctors, I’ve been told that a bone marrow donor has been found using the national registry.
“I won’t be able to find out who the donor is until long after the transplant is finished, but I can’t express enough the gratitude felt when I see and hear about the participants and organizers for the marrow drives that have taken place on my behalf over the past year.
“So after Thanksgiving, on Dec. 1, I’ll be headed down to the transplant hospital to begin the transplant. Still a long ways yet to go — it requires a month-long hospital stay, and then having to relocate near the hospital for months until it’s been determined that the transplant is stable and successful …
“Nonetheless, happy and grateful to be continuing along the path to recovery. Truly, thank you for all the love and support.”
Willis was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in December 2013. He needs a marrow/stem cell donor match to survive. Since Morrow is half Japanese and half Caucasian, the most likely match would be of Asian and Caucasian descent.
Prior to his diagnosis, Willis was attending Georgetown University, pursuing a master’s degree in international affairs. His career goals include working in the international public sector abroad in Asia. Willis previously attended the University of Southern California and studied in South Korea, where he was a Fulbright scholar in 2011.
The Bay Area-based Asian American Marrow Program has been organizing donor drives for Willis and continues to do so for other patients with life-threatening blood diseases.
Only a cheek swab is needed for tissue testing. Potential donors on the national registry must be between 18 and 44 years old and in good general health.
For information on other patients’ stories and upcoming drives in Northern California, visit www.aadp.org. For Southern California, visit Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M) at www.asianmarrow.org.