“I’m afraid of dying. It feels like I don’t have much time. I’m afraid of dying mainly cause I’m afraid of what I’m leaving behind.”
These are the words of 23-year old Chinese American, Janet Liang, who recently uploaded a video on YouTube pleading for her audience to help save her life. She has two months to live and find a bone marrow match.
Janet was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), while attending at UCLA in August 2009. She underwent 8 rounds of chemotherapy within a year. In June 2010, she left the hospital in complete remission and began post-chemo therapy that kept her cancer-free for a year and a half.
During her healthy period, Janet finished her studies as an Education Major at UCLA and focused her passion in promoting hope and healing to other young adult cancer patients through recreational and outdoor adventures.
Unfortunately, Janet has recently relapsed with leukemia, triggering her cancer cells to become more aggressive than before. As a result, doctors told Janet that she has only two months to live.
On January 21, 2012, Janet uploaded a video blog pleading her viewers for help. “I need you to help me find someone out there who can save my life,” cried Janet. “I have this April to find a match.”
In response to Janet’s video, I uploaded a video on YouTube the following day in an attempt to spread the word about Janet’s condition. My goal was to get people actively involved.
Three days later, Janet’s personal video was posted on Reddit–generating over 200,000 views. The video caught many YouTube celebrities’ attentions, such as Wong Fu Productions, America’s Best Dance Crew member Victor Kim, and musicians David Choi, Kinna Grannis, and Far East Movement. All these YouTube celebrities took to many social media outlets in hopes of spreading awareness of Janet’s conditions. As a result, social media serves as Janet’s last hope of finding her a match.
As for me, the truth is I have never met Janet face to face. I have however been following her on her blog before her video went viral. As a result, the connection that both Janet and I have lies in our shared circumstances. For instance, both Janet and I are students of the University California system. We both have younger brothers who attend UC Davis. We’re both from the Bay Area. Janet is a writer and so am I. We both take interest in humanitarian work. And most importantly, both Janet and I are active in the Asian American community.
As a result, Janet’s video was profoundly powerful and it inspired me to spend my last quarter at UC Davis organizing the largest Bone Marrow Drive we’ve had at the campus to date.
Since last week, I was able to contact the Asian American Donor Program (AADP), National Public Radio, and many other media stations in NorCal. I have also coordinated with many Asian American clubs on our campus in hoping to get more Asian American to register for the bone marrow drive. But the highlight of my week was when someone contacted me from Connecticut, willing to donate $10,000 to the drive as long as I continue to lead more future bone marrow drives around the area.
In my journey to find Janet a match, I have met many wonderful friends who shared the same desire and compassion of spreading the awareness. It was the power of social media that helped mobilize Janet’s cause.
So Janet, first and foremost I want to thank you for being such an inspiration to many of us out here. You taught me so much within a short amount of time. I admire your ability to stay positive through these tough times, your wisdom, and most importantly your compassion. I understand that your goal is to become a teacher one day. I’m sure that day has already happened. You taught me more than any lecture, textbook, or professor can ever teach me within the course of one week. So thank you.
Finally, I want to end this article by urging everyone to please visit your local Bone Marrow Drive and register (especially if you’re Asian American). All it takes is a cotton swab to the mouth to determine whether you’re a potential donor for someone like Janet. It’s free, painless, and only 10 minutes of your time.