Tues, March 3, walk to Arizona State University Tempe

Dear All, It was a short walk again today. Yesterday after spreading the word about our national marrow donor program in downtown Chandler with Lindsey and Ciara I walked 3.5 miles toward Arizona State University. That left me with just over 9 miles to walk today.
Most of my walk today was through housing tracks built in the 60’s and 70’s. I did get to walk just over a mile along the Arizona Canal Trail. It was refreshing to see the water but without shade it quickly became the hottest part of the walk. I finished at the Memorial Union at ASU where Aubrie picked me up.
I have been stressing how important it is to increase diversity on the Be The Match registry. I’d like to talk a bit
more about that now. A lot of people think that you need to have a matching blood type to be a match for a stem cell or bone marrow transplant but that is not true. The doctors are looking to match proteins in your DNA called, human leukocyte antigens (HLA). These HLA markers are inherited from your parents; one half from your mother and one half from your father. That’s why the best related donors are brothers or sisters. You have a 25% chance of matching a sibling. Sadly, only 30% of patients in need of a transplant find a perfect match within their family.
So 70% of the time Be The Match begins the search for an unrelated donor. Some ethnic groups have more complex HLA markers than other groups. That’s why you have the best chance of finding your perfect match within your own ethnic group. Unfortunately, African Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and Asians are all underreppresented on the Be The Match registry. I hope you see now how unique you are and why we need you to text LIFE to 61474. If you are not eligible to join you can play an important role by helping to spread the word about joining Be The Match by texting LIFE to 61474. A patient’s chances of finding a stem cell or bone marrow match ranges from 19% to 80% depending on their ethnic background. That’s why I am walking across the Sonoran Desert to bring awareness to the need for increased diversity in our national marrow donor program, Be The Match. I want everyone in need of a stem cell or bone marrow transplant to have a second chance at life just like our Jada.

Saturday Feb. 8, JBF Day in Gila Bend

Dear All, I hope this finds you all well. Today has been empowering, informative and gave me some time to relax.
I started the day getting ready for the Jada Bascom Foundation board meeting. (Side note: If you are interested in serving on the Jada Bascom Foundation board we meet once a month, sometimes every other month, on the phone in a conference call for one hour. It is a great way to serve. We would like to have three more board members. If you are interested in serving please contact Ramona Lyddon, President of the JBF board, monalyddon@yahoo.com ) I was so moved by the energy and commitment of each of the board members at the meeting. The focus of the meeting was supporting me in the 3rd Steps To-Marrow walk and making the most of this opportunity to reach as many people as possible about the need for diversity on the Be The Match registry and getting the simple message “Text LIFE to 61474” spread far and wide. All of the board members stepped up and volunteered to help. Thank you to Ramona Lyddon, President of the JBF board; Nicholas Corbett, Secretary of the board; Karlene Hyer, Treasurer of the board; and Pat Healy,board member and JBF liaison in Arizona. Thank you for your commitment to the Jada Bascom Foundation’s life saving mission to enroll potential bone marrow donors. Thank you for sharing your unique voices, experience and talents.