Happy Birthday James Erlandsen! – leukemia patient turns 24 – still looking for bone marrow match

Happy Birthday James Erlandsen!
Leukemia patient turns 24 – still looking for bone marrow match

James Erlandsen wears a brand new panama hat given to him by the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  His girlfriend Leah smiles with him.  photo – Bev Wong

James Erlandsen turned 24 years old today – July 7, 2007.

We were honoured to attend a birthday dinner dinner on Friday Night for James.  In February James was diagnosed with accute lymphocytic leukemia, a rare type of leukemia where the outcome is often death in weeks or months.  James was all smiles and good spirits at the dinner which was arranged on about 24 hours notice.  It is difficult to plan things in advance because of the fatigue, and depression which takes its toll on Jaime, from both the disease and the chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

On Sunday, Jaime is returning to the hospital for outpatient chemotherapy.  Earlier this year we named
James our honourary drummer for Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  He tells me he is looking forward to coming out to paddle on the dragon boat team later this summer. Earlier in June, the dragon boat team bought a panama hat for him to help protect his head – now bald from the chemotherapy treatments that kill off all fast growing cells.  When I had cancer in 1989 – my favorite hat was a panama, so I wanted to make sure that James had a real cool hat!

I first became aware of Jamie's health challenge when his cousin Aynsley Meldrum contacted me asking for help and searching for Eurasian donors as a Bone Marrow transplant is needed for James Lee ErlandsenJames' accute lymphocytic leukemia is rare, and he has no siblings.  The best chance of a match would be from somebody of mixed Eurasian ethnicity. 

I was amazed to discover that James' story was very close to my own cancer story.  We both had gone to Carson Graham Secondary School in North Vancouver.  We were both students at Simon Fraser University when our cancer and leukemia was discovered.  Our cancer and leukemia types were rare.

August 25th is set for a blood donor drive for James.  Please come and donate your blood.  Hopefully Eurasian donors can be identified for a possible match for a bone marrow donor. 

Saturday, August 25th
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Street Clinic in Vancouver
4750 Oak St, between 31st and 32nd.
It only takes about ten minutes to donate blood,
but the entire process (administration, etc.) will take about an hour. 
We'll have food, so people can stick around afterward and make a bit of a party
out of it.
If you or anyone you know would like to sign up,
please contact James's aunt, Bev, at bev_wong@shaw.ca or
Those interested in signing up will need to provide
Email Address
Phone Number
Date of Birth
Donor Number (for those who are
already registered with Canadian Blood Services)
Preferrred Half-Hour Increment Time
(e.g. 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm)
In order to donate, individuals must be between
ages 17-71 (17-61 for first-time donors), and weigh at least 110 lbs.  They
must be free of any illness, and not have had dental work for 3 days prior to
donation, or any tattoos or piercings in the 6 months prior to
Please let me know if you have any questions. 
(There is additional information available on Canadian Blood Services' website:

More information to follow up soon.  check out related stories and news articles below.

www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com: James Erlandsen: 2007 honourary drummer for Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team

www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com: Bone Marrow transplant needed for James Lee Erlandsen… searching for Eurasian donors

Check out the Vancouver Sun article by Pamela Fayerman:

Check out stories in Georgia Straight New Blog:

Simon Fraser University “The Peak” student newspaper:

Check out stories in Ming Pao


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