Jack Chin is dying of leukemia. The Monta Vista High School alum needs an immediate bone marrow transplant to survive, and the search is on to find a matching and willing donor.
“Plain and simple, the only way Jack can find a match to save his life is if one appears in the bone marrow registry,” Jim Chin, Jack’s fraternal twin brother, said in a statement. “There is no other way for him to get through this. No amount of positive, wishful thinking, encouraging Facebook notes or sympathy will do anything to change the fact that if people don’t register, my brother is not going to make it.”
The 23-year-old Cupertino resident found himself with unusual leg pains this past summer, just before beginning work at a prestigious and competitive finance internship with Visa in San Francisco. He had signed up for martial arts classes and was living at home for the summer in Cupertino before returning to UCLA to finish up his degree studying economics and accounting.
Chin sucked it up and worked through the pain with the aid of painkillers. But six weeks into the program, the pain was starting to become impossible not to notice, and Chin could barely move his legs or stand upright.
In July, he received MRI scans and a blood test that showed he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was rushed to the hospital that same day and stayed for a month. Chin then spent several months living a life of treatment, pills and chemotherapy.
Doctors told Chin on Jan. 13 that he needs a bone marrow transplant or he will die.
There are a number of difficulties with finding a match. The odds of an unrelated person being a match for Chin are 1 in 20,000. Patients are most likely to find a match among donors with the most similar ethnic background; in Chin’s case a match will most likely be Chinese.
There are continual issues with finding enough Asian-American donors. Only about 7 percent of those on the national bone marrow registry are Asian, according to the Be The Match program.
For more information about Jack Chin and the campaign to find a match, visit www.facebook.com/savejacktoday. For more information about the National Marrow Donor Program, visit www.marrow.org, and to sign up for a swab kit, visit join.bethematch.org/jack.