Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Innocence of Ignorance

There's something wonderful about the stage of childhood where you're old enough to think you know everything and still young enough to know absolutely none of the horrible, frightening, painful, and spirit crushing facts of life and this world we live in.

Cancer is one of those.

And then you get older and are personally touched perhaps by something along those lines and you get through it somehow, (in my case, the loss of my father when I was 25 to lung cancer - he was 60) and you think you know everything about that then too.

But you don't.

No. One of the amazing and astounding things about our journey of being alive is that life continues to surprise you with the things it has to teach you about the things that you think you know.

A few weeks back my attention was brought to the story of a little girl named Jayden while on Facebook. Jayden loves princesses and happens to have been diagnosed with cancer recently. She'll need a bone marrow transplant. She needs to find a match.  I don't know Jayden directly and though I think I may have met her parents in the past, I don't have a relationship with them directly but something about their description of her made me care in a deep way about this family.

Jayden is a brave 4 year old girl from Montreal, just diagnosed with MDS, that is causing her bone marrow to fail. She loves dancing, singing and learning. She wants your help to become a bone marrow and blood donor.
Here's their story as summorised by her mother on the facebook page dedicated to helping her:
Hi my name is Kelly Goodman. Our family's life has been turned upside down with recent news that Jayden has a deadly condition that will lead to a rare form of leukemia called AML. 
Jayden is a playfu,l energetic, young girl that loves life. On February, 11th after a few days of extreme fatigue and headaches, we found out Jayden's blood levels were abnormally low. After a bone marrow biopsy we found her marrow is failling. Jayden has been living off of blood transfusions until doctors can figure out the best treatment. Her battle has started and she will be faced the most aggressive Chemo treatments followed by a bone marrow transplant if we can find a donor.

If you want to help us and the many other kids and adults that suffer from this awful disease, help us find more bone marrow donors and give blood. Our family is working to organize bone marrow drives in both Montreal and Toronto to start. We will use this site to keep everyone informed. Thank you for caring.

If you have any questions please email

Kelly and Warren

Starting in Montreal and spreading all throughout Canada and the United States her parents have taken it upon themselves to increase her odds by setting up donor drives and by spreading the word about how important it is to become a bone marrow donor.  It's a wonderful cause and clearly is something very important for this family to be doing to help their daughter and to feel a little less powerless.

I've contacted the ADMO (associaciazione donatori midollo osseo) in Lombardia for infomation on how someone can join the donor registry here in Milan and here's a translation of some of their Guidelines:

Persons between 18 and 40 years
bodyweigth higher or equal to 50kg
In good health
Free of infective diseases (HIV, epatite B e C, sifilide)

In Milan you can call the following numbers for more information on how to register:

Milano - Osp. Policlinico: 02 55034239
Milano - Ist. Naz. Tumori: 02 23902490
Milano - Osp. Sacco: 02 39042293
Milano - Osp. Niguarda: 02 64442743
Milano - Osp. San Raffaele: 02 26432340
Milano - AVIS: 02 70635201

Even giving blood is super important if you can! Keep in mind that children with the disease need on average a blood transfusion every two weeks until their match is found!!!  Find out more about giving blood in Milan on the AVIS website. Or by contacting the numbers above you can also learn more.

It's up to us as individuals to make the choice to help others in a case like this. The statistics say that roughly only 1 person in 100,000 is compatible with a child or adult in ned of bone marrow transplant.  And then when you think about it, if you're genetically so similar, if the tables were flipped wouldn't you want them to go out and do the same for you?  Or if it was your child who needed a match?

Of course it seems better to not know or think about these things, and stay 'innocent' but at the end of the day once you do know it seems impossible to ignore the fact that there is something you can do.  Ignorance may be Innocence but Ignoring is full-on Irresponsible.

My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Jayden and her family.

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