James Erlandsen on CTV news, as plea for Eurasian bone marrow donor goes to the media
Good news for leukemia patient James Erlandsen, as the media is picking
up the plea for a Eurasian donor. Last week I was contacted by
James' cousin Aynsley who felt that www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com, a website that promoted intercultural issues, is a good place for a
story about the search for a Eurasian-Canadian bone marrow
donor. I have sent James' story to media contacts, and the
story was broadcast
by Channel M yesterday, and CTV tonight. The North Shore News,
Ming Pao and City TV are also following up on the story.
James was interviewed earlier on Saturday for a story which ran on CTV
6pm and 11:30pm local news. It's a good story which highlights
his life-threatening situation, and the fact that only 15% of bone
marrow matches are for non-whites. Recent cancer surviovr and MLA
Sindy Hawkins is also interviewed talking about these issues.
James' case is more desperate because while Sindy's sister was able to
donate bone marrow, James has no siblings. James' father is
caucasian and his mother is chinese, it is more rare to find a
compatible bone marrow match.
While I have communicated with James' cousin and aunt, I have not
him yet…. but Saturday evening we exchanged e-mails. The
television newscast was the first time I have seen
him during his treatment. He seems to be in good spirits and
emphasized the importance of being positive. He has lost much of
his hair due to the
side effects of chemotherapy treatment, and his face looks puffy
– probably due to prednasone steroid treatments used to help stimulate
metabolism during chemotherapy treatment. I went through the same
process 18 years ago. I went through 5 months of chemo treatment
before my blood tests were clean of cancer markers.
I know I am drawn to James' story because of the similarity to my own
health crisis when I was diagnosed 17 years ago with a life-threatening cancer tumor when I was age 29 – while attending SFU. Do I see myself in James? A young man full of potentialities, waiting to blossom?
James and I will meet for a City TV interview on Monday. I hope
to share with him some of the things that I learned during my
experience of cancer, and what I learned in my subsequent studies in
health psychology, medical anthropology, and sport psychology that I
took at SFU, following my illness.
I would like James to recover from Leukemia and achieve his many
unrealized dreams. 23 is much too short a life to have.
Maybe eventually as I did, he may also become a recipient for the SFU
Terry Fox Gold Medal. It is
given annually for a person who has “triumphed over adversity” and is
“dedicated to society.”
I also know that Hapa-Canadian culture is important. The search
for a bone marrow match is challenging because James is Eurasian… but
the future of Canada is becoming more Eurasian with each inter-racial
marriage and each Eurasian baby being born.
My brother's young children are
Eurasian. Many of my cousin's children are all Eurasian. My friend's Baby Tasha was the 1st baby born in BC for 2007 – all are Eurasian. Maybe this is why James' story has resonated for me… he seems like family.
His Aunt sent me this message yesterday morning
excellent and speedy work have provided a noticeable lift in the
spirits of James and his parents. We shall continue to have faith and
hope. Again, thank you for all that you have done.
and hope are sometimes all we can have, and all we can give in times
like these. Hopefully a donor can be found for James.