Campaign to Raise Awareness Around Need for More Diverse Donors to Feature Special Concert with Celebrity Advocate AJ Rafael
May 02 2023
Minneapolis, Minn.— (May 2, 2023)— Be The Match®, the world's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping patients with life-threatening blood cancers find bone marrow and stem cell donors, is proud to celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month this May. As part of the celebration, Be The Match is pleased to partner with singer AJ Rafael, a celebrity advocate for Be The Match and a blood stem cell donor himself, for a special concert in Los Angeles that will also be live-streamed online.
“I am excited to partner with Be The Match to help raise awareness around the need for more people to register for patients in need, especially during AANHPI Heritage Month, as patients who share that heritage only have a 47 percent chance of finding a donor,” said AJ Rafael. “Together, we can save lives and make a difference for our communities in the fight against blood cancers and blood disorders.”
The concert, which will take place on May 11 at the Terasaki Budokan Theater in Los Angeles, will feature a performance by AJ Rafael, and will also highlight the heartwarming story of a donor and recipient meeting for the first time.
The donor, Charles Woo of San Jose, Ca., joined the Be The Match Registry® after learning about it through a friend who needed a transplant. Years later, he received the call informing him that he was a match for a patient in need and proceeded with the donation process. Woo will have the opportunity to meet that patient, Darrian, a 15-year-old from Alameda, Ca., in person for the first time on May 11. Darrian had been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), until he had his transplant in November of 2021. Now a 10th grader, Darrian eagerly anticipates meeting the donor who saved his life.
“We are thrilled to be celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month with one of our amazing donors and advocates, AJ Rafael,” said Amy Ronneberg, Chief Executive Officer, Be The Match. “Taking this opportunity to celebrate and honor our donors, and to increase awareness about the importance of diverse representation on the registry helps us continue to make a real difference in the lives of the patients and families we serve every day.”
Be The Match is committed to eliminating health disparities and increasing access to cellular therapy for patients of all backgrounds. Currently, approximately half of Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander patients do not have a matching blood stem cell donor on the Be The Match Registry®. However, anyone can help increase those odds by joining the registry with a simple cheek swab.
For more information about how Be The Match is celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month and how you can get involved, visit BeTheMatch.org/AANHPI.
About Be The Match®
Be The Match® is a global leader working every day to save lives through cellular therapy. For people with life-threatening blood cancers—like leukemia and lymphoma—or other blood disorders like sickle cell, a cure exists. Be The Match connects patients with a matching donor for a life-saving blood stem cell transplant. The Be The Match Registry® is the most diverse registry in the world and includes both adult donors willing to donate to a stranger in need and stored cord blood units. In addition, Be The Match provides patients and their families one-on-one support, education, and guidance before, during and after transplant. Be The Match is also a global leader in research through the CIBMTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research®)—a collaboration with Medical College of Wisconsin, investing in and managing research studies that improve patient outcomes and advance the future of care.