Friday, September 26, 2008

Mission Creek Sports Park - Charity

Saturday saw the Grand Opening of the visionary Mission Creek Sports Park beneath the freeway at Mission Bay...see previous blogs...

The Grand Opening of the Sports Park was not just about having fun. This dedicated team are in a desperate race against time to save the life of their friend, Michelle.

Their quest is to find a suitable donor for a life-saving bone marrow transplant, and so at their table by the creek they were collecting cheek swabs from willing volunteers.

Michelle Maykin is a 26-year-old who grew up in the Bay Area and in May found herself relapsing with leukemia. Her family, friends and co-workers rallied to help her.

At the creek, Claire, Mary Eric - pictured - and Mary's husband, Kim, are on a rota for a team that juggle work schedules to go out into the community every day they can to find possible donors. It is a dedicated act of love.

In the apartments in Mission Creek, Mary has been putting up posters.

For Michelle, the need is for an Asian-American donor, but the campaign is working for donors for all patients, said 25-year-old Eric, a friend and accountancy firm consultant.

Michelle, who graduated from UC Berkeley, was originally diagnosed in February last year. As she began to improve with treatment she launched Project Michelle to find bone marrow donors for others who needed help.

Her bombshell news of her relapse came in May of this year.

Project Michelle has now become a national campaign, said Eric, reaching places including Hawaii, New York, Wahington DC, Boston and Texas. About 15,000 people have registered as potential donors.

On Saturday they collected 25 swabs, a low number given the numbers of people at the Grand Opening, but unfortunately their table was on the creek path to the side of the main activities.

Eric, though was not downbeat.

One of the great encouragements to him that day had been that Mayor Gavin Newsom had spotted their table, posed for a pic with the posters, and encouraged and supported them.

Secondly, he had the memory of recently collecting 1,400 swabs in Berkeley in two days.

And thirdly, he has a positive attitude: 'We're happy even if one person turns up,' he said.

Also pictured doing his bit is Brooklyn, a cross between a Jack Russell and Westie.

For more info on Michelle and a lovely pic:

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