YouTube favorite Janet Liang dies, despite bone marrow transplant

The 25-year-old leukemia patient's fight to find a perfect bone marrow match captured YouTube viewers. She passed just six days after surgery. 


Chase Hoffberger


Published Sep 12, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 11:15 am CDT

It’s with heavy heart and great sorrow that we pass on the news of Janet Liang’s death this morning.

Liang, a leukemia patient whose fight to find a perfect bone marrow match captured YouTube viewers around the world in January, was 25 and just six days removed from the bone marrow transplant that many believed would save her life. She died at Houston’s MD Anderson hospital in the middle of the night.

Liang was a student at UCLA when she contracted acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August 2009, and though she fought against the cancer for years, her unique blood type and Asian heritage made it nearly impossible for her to find a proper bone marrow donor.

In January, she took to YouTube to ask others to join her in her search. Titled “Finding a PerfectMatch for Janet—Her Personal Plea,” the California native’s appeal received more than 380,000 views.

Liang found a proper donor this summer. Last Wednesday, she underwent a bone marrow transplant that was supposed to serve as her second birthday.

“Like a dying Phoenix rising from its ashes, I was reborn once again,” her friends posted to the Facebook group Helping Janet Find Her Perfect Match, which had attracted more than 11,000 likes.

The page’s next update would be a dreaded one, however. Just before 6am ET this morning, a post landed on the page announcing Liang’s death.

“Janet has served as an inspiration to all those who knew her,” the post read. “Her big heart and big smile was something that we all cherished.

“And although she never fulfilled her dream of being a teacher, she has taught us all one very important lesson: love. Despite battling leukemia for 3 years, she has always found it within her to make her situation more than about herself. Her campaign to raise awareness and advocate for bone marrow donors was for the love of her fellow human.

“She has certainly taught all of us to love one another, and live each day as if it were our last. After bravely fighting cancer for three years, she has finally found her peace.”

Photo via Helping Janet/Facebook

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*First Published: Sep 12, 2012, 11:48 am CDT