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Featured ambassador: Casey Hauser

Casey Hauser has a message for those creating communications for patients with cancers: Stop being so bleak! He believes there’s a better way—a way to bring a positive light to a serious situation. For example: How about showing someone windsurfing five months post-transplant? Just like Casey did.

Facing danger

A passionate windsurfer, Casey’s cancer journey began a year after enduring three surgeries on his hip. After receiving abnormal blood test results, he flew from Maui to Los Angeles for more testing.  

What was thought to be tumors on his kidney, turned out to be inflamed lymph nodes caused by very aggressive acute lymphoblastic leukemia that had progressed from chronic myeloid leukemia. Casey began chemotherapy just two days later. 

While chemotherapy and radiation brought Casey to remission, his best chance of a cure would be a blood stem cell transplant. “My body could only continue going through so many rounds of chemo and radiation,” Casey said. “I thought, I’m in L.A. why not just get the transplant done while I’m here?”

It was July 2023 when he underwent a blood stem cell transplant, participating in the Orca-T clinical trial. Post-transplant his doctor ended up sending Casey home earlier than expected, telling him that feeding the soul is what matters. So, Casey did just that, returning to Hawaii in December to surprise his wife at her windsurfing event, and eventually getting back on the water himself. 

Riding the waves

Casey said that throughout this experience rather than being uncomfortable with the things he couldn’t control, he tried to switch his focus to the things he could—like the here and now and how he was going to get better. “It wasn’t easy—it still isn’t easy—but I’ve really tried to be a lot more thankful for what I do have,” he said.

For Casey, it’s easy to see the silver lining in his cancer diagnosis. For one, his relationships strengthened in a very positive way. “You see how amazing people are and how they’d do anything to help you,” he said. 

In January 2024 Casey fully engrafted with his donor’s cells and is now surfing 20-feet waves. And the analogy to windsurfing is not lost on him, “You can’t fight mother nature, but you can go with the flow and find the rhythm,” he said. “Cancer is the same way. It’s a wave, and you ride it, then go back and get another one.”

Spreading sunshine

Casey wants to bring this positive light to others on their cancer journey and encourage them to keep living. He knows there are a lot of young people in the prime of their life who are convinced a cancer diagnosis means the end. He also knows how lucky he was—that everyone can’t just pick up their lives and move to be able to get the best treatment. And he wants the incredible care he received to be accessible for everyone.

“This has been an amazing learning experience and I’m grateful I had it,” he said. “It changed everything for my life.” For Casey, there’s no purpose of his cure if he can’t help others. And he’s well on his way as one of our Los Angeles NMDPSM Ambassadors.

NMDP Ambassadors serve as representatives of NMDP within their communities to identify, engage and build relationships with individuals and corporations in support of our life-saving mission through ways that are most meaningful to them.  

Casey plans to use his many connections in the action sports world to raise money and awareness for NMDP and our life-saving mission. He’s a force of energy and ideas with a burning desire to show patients that there is another way. Cancer doesn’t have to be a bleak death sentence—you just need to ride the wave.

Are you passionate about saving lives? If you have ideas about raising awareness of NMDP, fundraising and recruiting new potential life-saving donors to the NMDP RegistrySM, contact Kirsten Larson at