Can you believe it? We're only 11 days away from the 326 national drive! Things here at OtherHalf HQ have been a bit crazy. The past few days we've been taking inventory, sorting, counting, recounting, and shipping the famous blue volunteer T-shirts, as well as our super cute black T-shirts. And did I mention recounting? Until today, I had no idea that fumes from packing tape could give one a massive headache and test their gag reflex. Ew.
But all of the counting will be worth it when our 326 blue and black T-shirt brigades roll up to every one of our 8 site locations and help facilitate stem cell donor registration of people just like you! Yeah, you!
To help put a personal spin on our fantastic volunteers, we interviewed Albert Ho, a member of the North American Association of Asian Professionals, or NAAAP. NAAAP is one of our community supporters for 326, and we are so encouraged by their commitment to help, as well as Albert's personal connection to stem cell registration:
1. Name: Albert Ho
2. Occupation: Registered nurse on a general medicine unit at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
3. Hobbies: Leadership development, professional networking, volunteering, and group fitness classes
4. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Having the power to change people's attitudes. Attitude is the one thing that anybody can change, but people are too stubborn to do it.
5. What volunteer organizations do you belong to?
North American Association of Asian Professionals (www.naaaptoronto.org)
Ryerson Nursing Alumni Association (www.ryerson.ca/alumnigroups/nursing)
6. Why is it important for young Asian professionals to participate in philanthropic activities?
It is important for Asian professionals to participate in philanthropic activities because we are a well-educated community. We can give back to the community in so many ways. You just have to take the initiative to find out how you can contribute.
7. How did you hear about OtherHalf?
A few friends over the years have been seeking donors, most recently Jenn Nguyen (diagnosed in December 2010), so I felt it was important to find out about the work of OtherHalf. I joined the registry in 2008. Now that you're reading about what OtherHalf does, take the initiative to join as a stem cell donor yourself.
8. Why did you decide to register as a stem cell donor? How easy is the stem cell donor registration process?
I decided to register as a stem cell donor because that is the first step to potentially saving lives. If you don't register, you'll never know if you could have been the one to save someone's life. It is extremely easy to register, and there is no blood donation involved when you enroll.
9. Why do you think it's important for the Chinese community to register as stem cell donors?
Since the Chinese community is under-represented in the registry, this means that we just aren't contributing enough donors to the registry. I think I need to speak out and inform the Chinese community about this. As a community and healthcare leader, hopefully I can influence
of people to join the registry as well. Leukemia can affect anyone at any age. We need to drastically and rapidly change our community's attitude about this. Our friends, our family and our community is suffering as a result of not enough donors from the Asian community.
10. Any closing thoughts?
Speaking as a health profesional, it is extremely important that every single person in the world join this important registry. Hundreds of people die annually because they can't find a suitable donor. Most people don't even know about the registry until it's too late when a close friend or family member gets leukemia, and by then the donor is in a fight against time. The donor registry is an international registry, meaning anyone in the world can potentially be saved because you are a part of it. Take the time to join today!
Thanks, Albert! We appreciate your support and the community support from NAAAP so much. Albert reminds us why we do our work--for patients like Jenn, Kristina Lam, and the many other Chinese blood cancer patients waiting for a match. For anyone who wants to chat with Albert further, you can find him at our Dragon City location on March 26th!