Welcome Tannerhead Nation
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Tanner Raboin was never afraid to talk about his illness. However, he refused to be defined by it. Diagnosed with Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD) at the age of six months, Tanner never knew a day in his life when he wasn't aware of the reality associated with being born with the inherited immune deficiency. Tanner's lymph nodes, skin, bones and lungs were constantly fighting infections with a compromised immune system that could only possibly be cured with a bone marrow transplant, yet despite his obvious challenges, it always seemed it was he who was lifting the spirits of those around him. And to those around him it became apparent early on that what actually defined Tanner was not his disease, but it was his heart. A heart that was filled with courage, love, and a determined will to greet every new day - and every new friend - with a smile.
As a teenager growing up just outside a city of champions like Los Angeles, it was easy for Tanner to embrace the competitive and winning spirit of the sports teams in city around him, from the storied franchise of the Los Angeles Dodgers to the perennial dominance of his home team LA Lakers. The joy of being a part of a winner was always amplified for Tanner as his personal battle with CGD grew more and more difficult. But it was another local team that Tanner grew to identify with. A team that always fought hard, but was never given a chance. A team who's history had more bad days than good. A team who's fans mantra of "We'll get 'em next year" was always filled with genuine hopefulness and delivered with a smile - a trait that was pure Tanner. The Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League found a special place in Tanner's heart. He embraced the LA Kings fan's "against-all-odds" optimism with great enthusiasm, and the LA Kings community embraced him back. Every Kings fan was a friend, and those friends would become family.
For years the passion of being a Kings fan grew, as did his extended Kings family. Tanner attended games and team events with his father Steve Raboin, and Tanner touched the heart of everyone he met with his strength, optimism and that smile. That ear to ear grin that continued to uplift everyone around him, even though his own health was failing him. In 2010, Tanner's condition had progressed to the point that he was no longer able to attend LA Kings games in person, and his personal and extended Kings family could not comprehend the thought of no longer being able to share those experiences without him. And with that, TannerHead was born. The smiling face of hope and optimism continued to attend every Kings game. Then friends began taking TannerHead to road games and would send Tanner pictures of himself attending games in arenas around the country, if only in spirit. Then when word got to the team, the actual Kings players began to have their pictures taken with TannerHead, then celebrities, then the next thing you know TannerHead was going on vacations around the world with complete strangers, always checking in with Tanner who by that time had sadly started losing his battle with CGD. Then tragically, at the young age of 19, Tanner Raboin finally succumbed to Chronic Granulomatous Disease. On April 11th, 2011, after months of aggressive and experimental treatment thousands of miles from his own bed, Tanner passed at his home surrounded by his loving family.
And so was born TannerHead Nation. Not a charitable organization as much as it is a charitable mob. When Tanner needed a bone marrow donor, TannerHead Nation connected Be The Match and flooded the corridors of Staples Center during the last Kings game of the season, each of them hoping that they were the match that could possibly help Tanner. To this day, TannerHead stickers are popping up around the world advocating bone marrow testing for Be The Match. Tanner's parents want to be the last name on the list of those who lost a child to CGD and Tanner's friends intend on sharing that smiling TannerHead with everyone they meet and everywhere they go. Their only agenda is to spread the word of Be The Match and to allow the next kid like Tanner to shine for well beyond 19 years. TannerHead Nation will continue to greet every new day - and every new friend - with that smile.
And by the way, the following season that team who's history had more bad days than good went on to win The Stanley Cup, and Tanner was there. Go Kings!
Number of registered marrow donors at Tanner drives since the first event on April 9th, 2011.
More to come.
If you would like to join the Be The Match Registry, please visit www.bethematch.org/JOIN and enter this unique code when prompted: TANNER
Team Be The Match is important to me
Team Be The Match is a nationwide community committed to helping patients in need of a marrow transplant by raising funds to add more potential marrow donors to Be The Match Registry.
By supporting me, you will help raise funds for patients in need of an unrelated marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. Together we have the potential to truly make a difference in the lives of thousands of men, women and children in need of a life-saving transplant.
What does Be The Match do?
Be The Match works to provide hope and deliver a second chance at life to patients by:
* Recruiting and supporting potential donors: To connect patients with donors, Be The Match manages the largest and most diverse donor registry — over 9.5 million marrow donors and 185,000 cord blood units. Donors can turn to their Donor Advocacy Program for support throughout the donation process.
* Supporting patients: To help patients access treatment, Be The Match offers financial support and educational resources.
* Educating doctors: Referring physicians can turn to Be The Match for information about transplant advances, caring for transplant patients and the importance of timely referral for transplant.
* Advancing science: Be The Match's research programs have advanced the science of bone marrow and cord blood transplant, from better matching the right donor to the right patient for improving post-transplant treatment.
Why you should help
Be The Match relies on our support to collect contributions from people like us so that it can further its mission. Proceeds will help add more potential donors to the Be The Match Registry. I hope you'll consider making a contribution today. Together we can help save lives!
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