the simple stuff

Today, I worked on a project to raise awareness/donors for someone who used to work at my company until recently (early May), when she had a relapse of Leukemia. Essentially, she needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. While she doesn’t necessarily need an Asian or Vietnamese match, the Asian (and ethnic minorities) account for less than 1% of those registered in the National Bone Marrow registry.

I’m not necessarily somoene to champion a cause (besides, but as I was working on this project for work, and getting to know a little bit about Michelle, I was struck by something she wrote in her blog — about how after getting through the cancer the first time around, life had seemed to be changing for the better — she was getting back to work, her bf got into B-school, etc. They were excited about starting new chapters in their lives and that is something I can identify with. After putting so much into trying to make life “work,” it must be devastating to have to put your life on hold once more. It has made me that much more thankful, grateful, excited, happy, hopeful (and yes, still paranoid) to have the Life I have now.

Anyway, this is her site. They are trying to find a donor match by end of June:

Registering is simple and fairly painless, as is the actual act of donating a marrow. I registered about 5 years ago, and I believe the entire thing took less than 15 minutes.Spread the word, register, do whatever you can.

Editor’s Note: Michelle’s life had and still has a profound effect on me. I often think about her simple dream of becoming a mother of two because it always reminds me of how simple life can be. At the time I was unhappy in yet another job I hated and felt as if I were wasting my time. Compared to Michelle’s dreams, mine seemed meaningless and shallow and made me question if they were really my dreams or if they belonged to someone else. Michelle’s dream reminded me that simple dreams are oftentimes the best. Just over a year later I received a company-wide email that Michelle had passed away. I remember reading it in my cube as my eyes glazed over and having to spend the rest of the afternoon taking long breaks. I remember thinking how short life was, how unfair, how precious, how I needed to simplify my life. I know it sounds corny but for whatever reason I really identified with Michelle and her death was the beginning of discussions Sly and I had about what we wanted out of our life. While we had several mutual friends, I never met Michelle in person but I still think of that moment in my cube as a catalyst for everything that happened afterward: us moving away from SF, realizing our dream of living abroad, etc.  

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