The Starting Line

Today is the first day in what I hope to be the start of something that I’ve thought about since December 2006. At this point I don’t know what will become of this idea; this dream I’ve held in my mind but for one reason or another haven’t had the time/resources to begin until now. My hope and prayer for the creation of this blog is that it will finally help to keep me accountable to following through with something that I think could really make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. This is bigger than me, my sickness and my experiences. This is bigger than the fact that one random Korean college kid was diagnosed with leukemia in December of 2006. This is a coalescence of not just the terror and helplessness of cancer and illness, but a lifetime of relationships, instruction, experiences, and convictions that have molded me into the person I am today. This is me answering a calling and taking a step out in faith that we can find reasons to press on in the face of devastation, that people are by nature full of empathy and love, and that with effort and dedication we can all make a legitimate contribution in remedying some of the world’s most daunting and seemingly insurmountable problems — even cancer.

Maybe this is why I’m still alive. It freaks me out to think about it in terms as stark as those, and at a glance it sounds incredibly dramatic, but when I think about it it really doesn’t sound that crazy. Maybe this is why I live.

I don’t know what this will become. I have no illusions of grandeur; I don’t seek notoriety or fame or care to use this as a stepping stone to other things. It’s too important for all of those ideas. This is the difference between life and death, hope and despair. I’ve seen the face of my mother at the bedside of her child as he receives chemotherapy in a cancer ward, and looked into the eyes of friends as they heard my diagnosis for the first time. I cannot and will not ever forget these things, and they’re why I have to follow through with this. I have to.

I’m not worried about scalar achievements — whether people choose to register or not and whether people are selected to be donors is out of my control. I will define “success” with one metric only: did I give it my best shot? Did I conquer my hesitations, did I persevere through the setbacks, and did I legitimately do everything that was reasonably within my power to raise awareness for and provide access to bone marrow registration? If I can earnestly say “yes,” then Cheekswab will be a success in my book.

I hope to chronicle my experiences here in this blog, both good and bad. I make no claims to have any experience or knowledge in developing an idea like this, so I make no promises that things will always be pretty. But I do promise that things will always be honest. The subject matter is just too important not to be honest.

Daniel Na
May 2011

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