Thursday, December 24, 2009

Please Help Mona


With a simple test, and a little blood, you can save Mona’s life




Dear friends and family,

One of my close friends living here in Miami, 26 year old PhD student Mona, is facing a terrible medical crisis and is in dire need of the help of Iranians living both abroad and back home. Mona has been diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH) which has recently progressed to bone marrow failure. Her only chance for survival is a bone marrow transplant which can now be accomplished via a simple blood transfusion.

Unfortunately, so far Mona has not been successful in finding a match donor in several donor banks. Because the chance of finding a match among her own nationality is much higher, Mona has now turned to the Iranian community for help.

The HLA test that will determine your bone marrow type requires only a few cells that you yourself can easily swab from your cheek. The test will not hurt you in any way and it won’t cost you a cent. Through the kind support of the PACI, Persian American Cancer Institute in California, anyone can do the HLA test for free by the end of January 2010. The registry will send you a free kit with full instructions in 7 to 10 business days. Once you have collected your cheek cells the last step is to mail the kit back to them.

If you turn out to be Mona’s match, the procedure that follows is very simple. The new technique for bone marrow transplantation separates stem cells from the donor’s blood. The blood is filtered through a machine and the stem cells are skimmed off and transferred to the recipient’s body. This new method is called peripheral blood stem cell transplantation.

You can register as a donor through this link http://join.marrow.org and by entering the PACI promotion code you will be freely placed in a separate bone marrow bank for Iranian Americans.

Key Points to consider when registering:

·Promotion code: paci4hope

·You are only required to fill in the spaces with an asterisk (*) next to it.

·Remember: blood type is not relevant in HLA matching. This means that anyone with any blood type may be a match for Mona.

·You are free to withdraw from donation process at any time.

For those friends who are living in Iran and would like to help, please contact Dr. Mina Zarei, Mona’s sister, 09122145379 for information on how to complete the HLA test in Iran. Other contacts are as follows: 09122002674- 09122481424- 02144990236 -02144990031

Please notify all of your family and friends via email, telephone or other means. We need as many people as possible to help save this young woman’s life.

Below is a letter in Mona’s own words asking for your kind help:

To all my fellow Iranians,

I, Mona Zarei, am reaching out to you from the Intensive Care Unit at Jackson memorial hospital in Miami, Florida.

Since being diagnosed with PNH I have fought with the complications of this disease by myself for almost two years trying to stay strong and keep my spirits high. Being a 26 year-old woman living in a foreign country alone with a strange disease has been no easy task. Recently in the last two months, I have repeatedly been hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU).

As my doctors have concluded, my only option for survival is a bone marrow transplant. It is for this reason that I am reaching out for your help in saving my life. All I ask of you is some of the stem cells of your blood to be transferred to my body. All I ask of you is only a little bit of your blood.

In these past few months of hardship I have almost reached the end of my rope. I am unsure how much longer I have to live. But what I do know is that the one thing that can save my life is a matching donor. And With Iranians like you, I am unwilling to lose hope.

I desperately need your help and kind support in finding my match.

Please be the one to save my life.

With much respect,

Mona Zarei

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