RAFU STAFF REPORT
The family of Paul Goodman is seeking a life-saving bone marrow match as he battles a recurrence of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Goodman’s family are members of Orange County Buddhist Church in Anaheim. In a letter to the community, the family writes:
“Many of us watched him grow up at the Orange County Buddhist Church (OCBC) playing basketball and participating in many other youth organizations. His love for the community has led him to the current day where he volunteers as a tech advisor for OCBC programs and serves as a counselor for the Los Angeles Buddhist Coordinating Council (LABCC) church camp. When he is not helping out at OCBC, he is a writer, director and editor at his very own production company which allows him to bring his stories to life.
“As Paul continues to fight to get back to doing things he loves, please consider signing up to become a possible bone marrow donor.”
For Goodman, who is biracial, the ideal match would be a donor who is 50 percent Japanese and 50 percent Caucasian and between the ages of 18 and 44.
According to Athena Mari Asklipiadis of Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches, only seven percent of the bone marrow registry is of mixed race. Asklipiadis and Jeff Chiba Stearns created the documentary “Mixed Match” about the search for bone marrow donors for mixed-race blood cancer patients.
“We did a documentary because it is so important for mixed race, especially in the Japanese American community because there is so much intermarriage,” Asklipiadis said. “This is something people should be aware of. Whether signing up as a donor at 18 or donating your baby’s umbilical cord, stem cells can save a life.”
Upon registering, the potential donor will receive a kit in the mail requiring a sample to be submitted by swabbing the inside of one’s mouth. See the website for further information on the registry process.
Donors can register at http://join.bethematch.org/hope4paul or text Hope4Paul to 61474.
He is unable to receive visitors or cards, but you can send encouraging words to him via Instagram @notsogoodman.
The Goodman family shared a message: “We are so grateful to everyone for the love, support, and encouragement we are receiving daily from family, friends, and the community. Just knowing that everyone is thinking of Paul gives us strength during this challenging time.”
Krissy Kobata: ‘My MDS Has Been Cured’
Krissy Kobata was diagnosed with myelodispastic syndrome when she was 25. MDS is a primary bone marrow condition, where her bone marrow did not produce normal blood cells. The condition is also known as “pre-leukemia.”
Ethnicity is a key factor in finding a bone marrow match and Kobata’s family is of mixed heritage, Japanese and Caucasian, making it more difficult for her to find a donor match.
Diagnosed in 2008, she’s the epitome of resilience as she waited for years to find a matched donor. She devoted this time to helping other patients by enlarging the Be the Match bone marrow registry. She’s directed numerous bone marrow drives and fundraisers, bringing thousands of new DNA donors to the national registry. However, her own path to finding a donor was challenging and frustrating.
Following is an update from Kobata on her condition.
Fortunately, I’ve been incredibly lucky since my transplant in December of 2017. I’ve consistently been improving in health, stamina, and overall well-being. My MDS has been cured, which is amazing and I couldn’t be more grateful.
In March, I rejoined the working world after being in recovery over the last two years and that proved to be a challenging transition, but I’m happy to be getting back to “normal” life.
While we all experienced the pandemic this year, I felt like I had an upper hand at how to manage the health safety mandates. I was already used to having to wear a mask in crowded places. washing my hands and generally doing my best to avoid getting any illness since I’m immunocompromised.
Unfortunately, it didn’t make the experience any better, but my adapting to the new quarantine rules and social distancing was already somewhat in practice. I think whenever you experience a health crisis on a personal level, it makes it easier to sacrifice some of the normal things that most people aren’t accustomed to giving up in order to stay safe.
I am very happy, though, that it looks like there’s light at the end of the tunnel! Otherwise, I’m just managing everything like everyone else — one day at a time. 🙂