After a lengthy battle with leukemia, Janet Liang passed away on September 12, 2012. V3con audiences learned about Liang’s plight on the panel For the Health of It, where her best friend, LiAnn Ishizuka was a panelist. V3con attendees were also able to participate in the Team Janet Bone Marrow Registry drive on-site on the day of the conference.
Liang was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009 while studying at UCLA. While receiving treatment at UCLA Medical Center, she created Team Janet, a project designed to create awareness about Leukemia and the need for bone marrow donors among minority groups.
After eight months of chemotherapy, she was able to leave the hospital in 2010 in complete remission.
In late 2011 Liang relapsed, and was told she needed a bone marrow transplant in order to survive. In desperation, she recorded a video asking for help finding a donor and posted it online. Her emotional plea was heard around the world, and the video quickly went viral.
According to the Team Janet fundraising site, they were able to complete over 300 bone marrow donor drives, and register 20,000 new registrants.
Denise Dador, ABC7 News Health Reporter, moderated the panel at V3con in which Ishizuka spoke about Liang and her struggle to find a bone marrow donor. “From what I can tell, Janet’s uplifting spirit was definitely the guiding light that inspired so people to action, I was sure our paths would meet after her surgery,” says Dador.
Liang found a donor but passed away just a week after her bone marrow transplant.
It is with a sad and heavy heart that we announce the passing of Janet Liang.
Janet has served as an inspiration to all those who knew her. 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. She has certainly taught all of us to love one another, and live each day as if it were our last. After bravely fighting cancer for three years, she has finally found her peace.
We ask that you provide her family with privacy and respect during this difficult time.
Thank you to all of Janet’s supporters. Your outpouring of love and support has always been a constant source of strength for her. Please help to honor her legacy by continuing the fight for leukemia awareness in her memory.
Dador, along with many supporters were shocked and saddened to hear of Liang’s passing. “Everyone wanted to believe that the hard work was done and she would be fine. This reminds us how fragile life is. But I know that Janet’s efforts and wish to spread awareness will continue and even more people will continue to find donor matches because of Janet,” said Dador.
In Janet’s memory, V3con is partnering with a network of other prominent Asian American sites to host 170 in 7: A Bone Marrow Cyberdrive in Memory of Janet Liang.
Leukemia is a type of blood cancer and the most common cancer to affect children and young teens. Treatment to save a leukemia patient’s life often requires a bone marrow transplant from a “perfect match” donor – a donor whose blood matches a recipient’s blood for 10 separate genetic markers.
Unfortunately, Asian American and other non-White leukemia patients are much less likely to find a “perfect match” donor than White leukemia patients. This is because Asian Americans and other minorities are significantly underrepresented in Be The Match, the national bone marrow registry used to search for and match potential bone marrow donors with recipients.
Janet made it her mission to register Asian American bone marrow donors, and thanks in part to her efforts, at least 18 bone marrow matches were made to recipients nationwide. However, Janet passed away without finding a perfect match for herself. Today, many other Asian American leukemia patients are still waiting to find their perfect match, like 2-year-old Jeremy who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. To celebrate Janet’s life and her legacy, we want to register 170 new potential bone marrow donors in Janet’s name in just 7 days.
Be one of the 170 in 7:
Registration is free for donors, convenient and secure. Here’s how to be one of the 170 in 7:
- Click on the link: http://join.bethematch.org/TeamJanet. Fill out the forms to request a free, do-it-yourself cheek swab kit.
- Tweet about it using #170in7 to be counted!
If you don’t have a Twitter account, send an email to jenn [at] reappropriate [dot] co to be counted!
And that’s it! Less than ten minutes of your time can help you save a life!
In about one month, a cheek swab kit will be sent to you in the mail, along with instructions and a pre-paid return envelope. Follow the instructions to swab your cheeks and return the kit. If you are matched (only 1 in 540 registered donors are ever matched), you will then be contacted and asked if you would like to donate your bone marrow. Registering is not a commitment that you must donate; it is only to help match recipients with potential donors.
Most donors are never matched. But if you are matched and if you do choose to donate your bone marrow, that donation is likely to save a young person’s life.
Other Ways to Help Out: Donate to AADP and/or to the Liang family
Donor registration is free for the donor because AADP and other non-profit organizations cover the costs of donor registration through charitable donations. If you are unable to register as a bone marrow donor, please donate to AADP to help fund registration costs for other donors, or to the Liang family (PayPal account using firstname.lastname@example.org as the recipient, or checks payable to “Janet Liang” sent to PO box 1526, Pleasanton CA 94566).
Other Ways to Help Out: Spread the Word
If you are already registered, please help spread the word about the 170 in 7 bone marrow cyberdrive through Twitter and Facebook. If you would like to join your site to this partnership or if you would like more information about the 170 in 7 bone marrow cyberdrive, please go here.
170 in 7 is a partnership between the following: 8Asians, AARisings, Angry Asian Man, Asia Pacific Arts, Asian American Donor Program (AADP), ChannelAPA, Jeff Yang (columnist, Wall Street Journal Online), Reappropriate, Rice Daddies, Schema Magazine, and a special partnership with Team Janet and Jeremy Needs You and more.
About the Drive
170 in 7 will be running from September 17, 2012 to September 24, 2012. Our goal is to register 170 new potential bone marrow donors in 7 days in memory of Janet Liang.
We would love to add more partners to this week-long bone marrow donor cyberdrive. To join, please contact Jenn for more information.
To Spread the Word
Please tweet about the campaign using the hashtag #170in7. Buttons and banners are available for use with this campaign.
— Margaret Sharpe, V3con blogger & Jocelyn “Joz” Wang, V3con Founder & Executive Director