Janet Liang, who graduated from Amador Valley High in 2005, died Sept. 11, six days after receiving a transplant from a near perfect match.
Liang, 25, battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia, diagnosed in August 2009 while studying at UCLA. She went through eight rounds of high-dosage chemotherapy that lasted over the course of a year.
Some of her hospitalizations lasted for 30 days, while others took several weeks. In June 2010, she left the hospital in complete remission and began a regimen of maintenance therapy that kept her cancer-free for a year and a half. During that time, she and her mother traveled to France and England, and Liang also appeared in People magazine to encourage other young adult cancer patients.
As an advocate for bone marrow donors, Liang raised awareness of the need for Asian donors to Be The Match, the organization that pairs up potential donors and leukemia patients. Marrow drives were held throughout Pleasanton starting in February and hundreds of people registered with Be The Match who might not have otherwise ever registered anywhere.
A Facebook page, “Helping Janet Find Her Perfect Match,” announced that she had died.
“Janet has served as an inspiration to all those who knew her,” the Facebook announcement says. “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.”
A website named “We Did It” noted that Liang’s plea led to more than 300 donor drives, more than 20,000 new registrants and 18 matches for other patients. Through the power of social networking, the site says Liang’s story led to South America, Asia, Europe and Australia.