Jada Bascom was born on April 16, 2007 at Holy Family Hospital in Spokane, WA. Shortly after her birth a nurse came in and swept Jada away. The family later learned that a nurse noticed small red dots on Jada’s skin, a sign that her blood was not clotting. This nurse was the first in a long line of people who were responsible for saving our Jada’s life.
Jada had hundreds of blood transfusions and amazing medical teams at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. The experimental drug Difibrotide – sent on a compassionate use basis from a pharmaceutical company in Italy – (Gentium) and prayers from people of a myriad of faiths helped keep Jada alive.
But it was a bone marrow donor from Germany who cured her cancer.
No one in Jada’s family was a match for the bone marrow she need to save her life. No one in the entire U.S. was a match. That’s why getting more people registered all over the world is so important.
In order to express our gratitude to the innumerable people it took to save Jada’s life and all of the folks who supported our family through this crisis we began the Jada Bascom Foundation.
Jada and her parents were able to meet Jada’s donor, Torsten Huber for the first time on January 27, 2011 in New York City. That same day Jeana Moore (Mei Mei) completed her walk across America. Meeting Torsten was a joy beyond words. We are grateful everyday for his gift of life to Jada. Jada and Torsten continue to have a strong bond. Jada calls Torsten her blood brother, when Jada became aware of Torsten’s role in saving her life she said to Mei Mei, “If Torsten is my blood brother then he really is my family.”
Jeana Moore, Jada’s Grandmother
Jeana Moore is the Founder of the Jada Bascom Foundation and the walking representative of the Steps To-Marrow program. Jeana has a deep commitment to helping others find their bone marrow match and serving individuals with cancer and their families.
Jeana has completed two Steps To-Marrow walks to raise awareness and register donors. The first walk was across the United States. It took 15 months and 14 pairs of shoes, but she recruited over 5,000 people to join the U.S. registry, Be The Match. Five of those people proved to be matches. Meeting up with Jada’s donor for the last 3 miles of her walk in New York City was a highlight of the trip.
Her second walk in 2012 was across Europe to thank the German registry DKMS. From Germany to Italy, Jeana helped host 30 donor registration drives and enrolled over 6,000 potential stem cell and bone marrow donors. Jeana is looking forward to a third Steps To-Marrow walk the winter of 2020.
At the end of the first Steps To-Marrow walk Jeana was empowered as a Dharma Holder in the Zen Peacemaker Order and the Zen Peacemaker Circles.
Jeana worked for 6 years with the Peacemaker Community. She worked with people of diverse cultures, faiths and socioeconomic backgrounds using methodologies including; non-violent communication, council and sociocracy. The Peacemaker community brings people to experience the interconnectedness of all life. In everyday living, bone marrow donors and their recipients manifest this interconnectedness.
>> Video: Fellow Walker Meets Jeana (shows the heart behind StepsToMarrow)
Torsten Huber, Jada’s Donor
>> Video: Meet Jada’s Donor (DKMS is the German marrow registry)
In April 2006 there was a bone marrow registry drive for a woman who had leukemia in my area in the south of Germany. My girlfriend, Michaela, and I went to register. There was no match found for her, but all of the people were added to a list as potential donors.
In October 2007 I got a letter telling me that I might be a match. I had to do further tests to confirm this. A few weeks later I went to the hospital to donate my bone marrow. After the procedure I was told that a lawyer went directly to the airport and flew to Seattle with my cells. There was a little girl waiting there for the donation. After a few months I got good news; my genetic twin was still alive.
Two years later I wanted to know more about the little girl and applied to get the address of the recipient family. I was a little nervous when I searched the Jada Bascom Foundation on the internet. I was happy to read about Jada´s story and that she was well. Also, I was really impressed with Jeana and her walk across America. I wrote a short notice in the guestbook on her website. After several emails with Jada’s Mom, Issa Bascom, and getting to know a little bit more about each other, Jeana invited me to take part in the last miles of her walk in New York City.
In January 2011, I got the chance to meet Jada and her family in New York City. At 10:00 in the morning on the day of the final walk I met Jeana, Kyle, Jada’s father, and the rest of the family, friends and supporters who had come to walk the last miles with Jeana along Central Park to the Park Central Hotel. When we arrived at the Park Central Hotel I met Jada and her mother, Issa, the first time. I was pretty nervous because of giving a few interviews but in the evening we had a chance to get to know each other a little bit more. Also the next days I was able to spend some more time with Jada and her family.
My personal highlight was while sightseeing in Manhattan on Sunday when Jada came to me, took my hand and we walked hand in hand on the Broadway.