Can YouTube help save Janet Liang's life?
Social media saved Amit Gupta's life. Can it save Janet Liang?
The UCLA graduate student has fought acute lymphoblastic leukemia since August 2009, and time is running short for her to receive a bone marrow transplant that could potentially save her life. Doctors have told her that she likely has until only April to find a proper match.
On Saturday, Liang took to YouTube to deliver her message and ask for help finding a bone marrow donor.
"I just want to say that I'm so afraid of dying," she says while holding back tears at the beginning of "Finding a Perfect Match for Janet - Her Personal Plea” on her personal YouTube channel. "I don't have much time, and I realize that I'm afraid of dying mostly because I'm afraid of what I'm leaving behind. I don't know if I'll ever find my match in time, and I don't know if I'll make it through the transplant."
Complications from the transplant itself notwithstanding, the statistics are stacked against Liang's fight. According to the Asian American Donor Program (AADP), "The odds of matching an unrelated donor are between 1 in 100 and 1 in a million. Currently, only 25% of the National Registry represent the racial minority communities; therefore, the current odds for a minority patient to find a matching unrelated donor may be more close to 1 in a million."
Those are discouraging numbers, but chances are that Liang's message won't fall on blind eyes. Posted Saturday, Liang's video has already amassed 17,625 views and 560 supportive notes from the YouTube community. Two tribute videos, one from lowfat422 and another from psookkas, a friend of Liang's, have been posted in an attempt to spread the word.
The video has caused a similar groundswell on Reddit, where it was posted by user enzo32ferrari Monday morning. There, it has already received 1,340 comments, many of which come with information about how to donate.
"In my ignorance I was imaging a bone cracked or cut open to remove the marrow and placed in recipient," posted user Metals721. "I was also curious if marrow will grow back apparently it does. Looks like its really safe and fairly easy to do. A lot of people are probably scared of the procedure because they don't know the details involved in being a donor. Please watch and I hope this helps you find a donor quickly."
That’s tremendous support in such a short period time, but Liang's search is far from over. Now more than ever, the online community needs to remember her fight.
"I'm pleading you to please continue to get out to the drives and persuade people to register," she says in her video. "Register for marrow, especially if you're a Chinese American. I need you to help me save my life or find that person out there who can save my life."
Photo from Facebook