Tuesday, May 05, 2009

an easy gift for Moms (and others)

Many of you know my Mom, who plays a huge part in my life despite our geographic separation of about a thousand miles. Mom has attended every Quilt Market with me, heavily influenced my decision to change careers and become a clothing designer (she was happy that I ended my Wall Street episode, I think--somehow parents just know when you're not a suit, heels and spreadsheet girl), and has been a supporter of her five daughters through all sorts of adventures. She's the most patient, soft-spoken person I know.

Tomorrow my Mom starts chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Fortunately, my Mom's cancer was caught early. The chemo is precautionary, following a successful lumpectomy, and we're fairly confident that her prognosis is good. Nonetheless, the anticipation of this episode in her life has been pretty hard on all of us. Two of her daughters will be getting married this spring and summer, and we want her to feel well enough to attend and enjoy the weddings. And it's just difficult to watch a parent suffer, no matter what the outcome. I can't even imagine what it's like for her right now.

In honor of my amazing Mom and what she's about to undergo, I have a favor to ask you.

There is a little boy here in New York (a schoolmate of the child of a friend of mine) who has just been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Friends of this child's family have organized a bone marrow drive to search for a potential donor. Through this effort I recently learned that there is a national registry of potential bone marrow donors. All you need to do is request a donor kit, swab the inside of your cheek with a Q-tip, and you're entered into the list of potential life-saving donors for hundreds (thousands?) of other people in need of a transplant.

Here is a link to Hope for Kai, the little boy who needs a donor. May I request that you follow this link to the national donor registration site and request a kit? Of course financial donations are extremely helpful as well, so please do what you can. But that donor registry is haunting me. I can't think of a easier way to help someone else at little or no cost to yourself. The more people on the list, the better the chance of finding a donor.

So I'm spreading the word, in honor of little Kai and his Mom (and family--his Dad has cancer as well) and also to celebrate my amazing Mom. I encourage you to celebrate your Mom in this way as well.

19 comments:

  1. I second your call to join the bone marrow registry. I signed up last year and it was fast and painless. I haven't been called yet but I think there would be nothing greater than giving someone a second chance. I understand the need is especially great in communities of color. Please consider joining!

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  2. Great idea! I am part of the HRP Mamas yahoo group who is sponsoring this drive! I will post on my blog too!

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  3. Quilt Market will be different this year without your mom. I've loved having her there with us the past 3 quilt markets talking with visitors at the booth, setting up those cabinets (one more time!), insisting on holding down the fort so we can grab a quick lunch.

    She is such a kind, supportive, and strong woman.. and she will certainly be in our thoughts this week.

    Chin up Liesl.

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  4. Oh, I forgot to say that I will be keeping your mom in my thoughts and that I hope Quilt Market is very very successful for you despite your mom's absence this year.

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  5. My dad was treated for cancer several years ago.  Regardless of early detection and successful removals the feelings, fears and thoughts you experience as the child of the patient is difficult.Your mom and your family are in my prayers today, Liesl.

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  6. My mom just completed a year-long journey to being cancer free. She also had a small lump, detected early. Encourage her reach out to her friends and family - my mom was overwhelmed at the response of others in her circle of friends. I'll say a prayer for your family!

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  7. I'm so sorry to hear this Liesl, and I know that being geographically separated makes it even harder for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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  8. What a thoughtful post - not only for your mom, but also for your friend. I *think* I already am in the registry because one of my high school teachers needed a transplant and our school had a drive for her benefit.

    I will continually be praying for your mom's health, and your family as you surround her with love and support. God Bless you, Liesl.

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  9. I've just requested a kit!
    I hope I'm a match for someone.

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  10. Claudia3:48 AM

    Dear Liesl,
    How thoughtful of you. Thank you so much for posting about Kai and the bone marrow drives. It is extremely important not only in Kai's case, but for all 10000 new patients every year that need a bone marrow transplant, to bring awareness to the general population about registering as a donor ( only 3 in 10 find a match).
    My mom, back in Brazil, was also diagnosed with breast cancer and successfuly treated a couple of years ago... I do know how you feel...my thoughts and prayers go you and your famiy too.

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  11. The national registry is such a good idea and you have written this post so well.

    I wish your mum and family all the strength they need to get through the months ahead.

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  12. Done~Happy birthday to your mum~may all go well with her treatments.

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  13. Hi, I am eword's Mom. I feel for little Kai and his Dad and if I could donate my bone marrow, I would. Unfortunately I caught Hep C with my last baby (31 years ago blood was not tested for Hep C). I am in Renal Failure and on dialysis. I had 3 living donors and none of them were able to donate for one reason or another. So I know what it is like to be waiting for a donor/transplant. My prayers are with Kai and his family. Thanks to all the selfless people who donate their blood and/or organs. It is a miracle!

    Jane Larsen

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  14. I wish you and your family the best. That they caught it early is very good. The survivors I know were treated early and with modern medicine live every bit of a full life as those who did not undergo the disease. For the past two years I've worked with Camp Sunshine (http://www.campsunshine.org/) a retreat for children with life-threatening diseases (primarily cancer) and their families. The strength that comes from fighting and surviving this is so beautiful. You've got some sunshine today, I hope it remains. Will stitch some love and goodness for you and your family.

    Best,

    Sharon K.

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  15. Such a touching and heartfelt post. Watching my own mother, sister, mother-in-law, and many other special women face cancer, I can relate to so many of your comments and feelings. Having met your sweet mother at Market, I will hold all of you in my thoughts and prayers during her treatment. May both of you have a truly happy Mother's Day!

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  16. I just went through this with my Mom, chemo is no pinic, but will do the trick. All the best.

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  17. Oh my - bless you and your Mom and Kai and his Dad. I registered, kit on the way!

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  18. Funny you should mention, but I'm getting swabbed for Kai on Sunday. The YMCA in Brooklyn is doing a drive/test on Sunday. Hopefully there's a match!

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