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I am participating in this year’s Be The Match Walk+Run because a little over a year ago, we lost my uncle Marshall to complications associated with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He was 45 years old, and left behind a wife and three amazing and brave daughters.
I am running this year for Marshall, whose strength and positivity throughout his battle was truly amazing, and who never let his illness break his spirit. I am running for Marshall's wife, Liz, whose endurance and courage I find incredible, and for their daughters, Bea, Parker, and Molly, who I love more than I can say.
I have tried to put our story and purpose to words, but I feel as though my dad's post says it better than I ever could, so I've copied it below.
Blood disorders are difficult to treat and manage, and every dollar helps. If you can't donate, consider registering with the National Bone Marrow Registry--you could be someone's life saving match.
Thank you so much for your support!
From my dad:
As many of you know, on September 8, 2016, we lost my brother Marshall Neilson to complications associated with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Marsh was 45 years old, and he left his wife, Elizabeth Dixon Neilson and three daughters, Bea, Parker, and Molly.
On November 18, 2017, Team MRun and I will be participating in the Be the Match Walk+Run in Marshall's memory. Our goal is to kick this goddamn disease in the ass, along with a bunch of other crappy diseases and disorders. Specifically, we will be raising funds for an organization that helps to pair bone marrow donors with recipients and supports research into potential complications such as graft vs. host disease (GvHD), the proximate cause of Marshall's death.
In some respects, our family was fortunate. I was a match for Marshall's bone marrow transplant. Had he needed to find a match in the general population, as a white person of European descent, he would have had about a 75% chance of doing so. The odds aren't anywhere near as promising for people of color: my neighbors of Mexican and Japanese descent are looking at a 46%. For African American friends and colleagues, the odds are still steeper at 19%.
Marshall knew he was lucky in life. He saw our marrow match in this light, but he was troubled by the thought that there were people who were obliged to grapple with the frightful diagnosis of a cancer or other blood disorder with the added fear that a life-saving match would not be found.
Be The Match helps to overcome these inequities. If you knew my brother, you know that it's something he would stoutly support--for all of the above-mentioned reasons. I hope you will consider supporting us, too--either by donating to the team using the link below, or by joining us. The weather's lovely in Southern California in mid-November. I'm pretty sure there's a t-shirt in it for you. And a fresh bagel. There will definitely be bagels.
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Every 3 minutes someone is diagnosed with blood cancer.
Thousands of patients with blood cancers like leukemia or other diseases like sickle cell anemia, need a marrow transplant to survive. Most patients don’t have a fully matched donor in their family — and that’s when they turn to Be The Match®. By participating in a Be The Match Walk+Run, or donating funds, you are providing life-saving support to those patients in need. Do right, join the fight.