Announcing Dennis’ Donation Story and Cheekswab on YouTube

For the past several months I’ve been working on a new section of the site entitled Donation Stories. The purpose of this section is to chronicle the stories of people who have donated marrow in an honest and personal way. I’ve done my best to provide comprehensive information about bone marrow donation on this site — the methods, the logistics and time commitment, and addressing some common questions — but something was missing.

Since I’m unable to personally join the registry for medical reasons, I’ll never know what it’s like mentally and emotionally to go through the process of donating marrow. I can write about the parameters of the time commitment but I don’t know what it’s actually like to sacrifice the time for checkups and blood tests. Up until now, the emotional and mental perspective is what this site has lacked. The Donation Stories section hopes to address that need.

Dennis' Donation Story

I’ve written about Dennis previously in this blog and the fact that he was asked to donate to an anonymous patient in early December. What you didn’t know Continue reading “Announcing Dennis’ Donation Story and Cheekswab on YouTube”

$820 Donated by Argy, Wiltse & Robinson PC!

Argy, Wiltse & Robinson PC
I awoke last Friday (3/9) to several emails in my inbox from the BeTheMatch Foundation. Thanks to the generosity of Argy, Wiltse & Robinson P.C. (a full-service Accounting firm headquartered in McLean, VA) a total of $820 was donated to the Cheekswab BeTheMatch Foundation Donation Page to help register new donors at drives held in the Washington DC/Northern VA/MD area!

Several weeks ago my friend Nathan contacted me to ask if there was any means of contributing a tax-deductible donation directly to Since cheekswab is not officially registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization I told him that there was not. However there was a still a tax-deductible means to support the cause of bone marrow donation in a manner that would directly impact lives within our own area. By using the Cheekswab BeTheMatch Foundation Donation Page, people/organizations can know that 100% of their donations will go exclusively towards donor kit processing costs Continue reading “$820 Donated by Argy, Wiltse & Robinson PC!”

Recap 2011 and Resolutions 2012

Accomplishments in 2011

  • Followed through with my promise to get the wheels moving on cheekswab. Sent emails, did research, eventually came in contact with the National Marrow Donor program.
  • Completed the background check/training to be certified as a Level 2 Ambassador for the NMDP.
  • Recruited donors at two official NMDP events: the health fair at Greater Little Zion Baptist Church in Fairfax, VA and at TEDxMidAtlantic in Washington, DC in honor of Amit Gupta.
  • Registered 70 total donors across two different drives as “Cheekswab”, at Vision of Peace Church in McLean, VA.
  • Began development on the official website.

Goals for 2012

Continue reading “Recap 2011 and Resolutions 2012”

First Official BeTheMatch Drive

Greater Little Zion Baptist Church

I just got back from the first official drive I’ve participated in as a level two volunteer with the National Marrow Donor Program.  The other NMDP volunteer and I manned a table at a health fair at Greater Little Zion Baptist Church in Fairfax, VA.

I was eager to get this drive started because while I did participate in the drive at my church last Sunday, I’ve yet to observe/participate in an “official” NMDP/BeTheMatch drive.   The NMDP really is an incredible organization.  They perform 99% of the legwork when it comes to registering donors: they provide all the materials, all the training, all the coordination, and all the processing.  They just lack that extra 1% of in-the-flesh volunteers to oversee the filling out of forms and swabbing process.  After a drive we make sure the forms are filled out properly, go to Fedex, and the NMDP already has the postage paid for returning completed registrations.

The health fair at Greater Little Zion was awesome.  It’s such a great service to not only their congregants but the community at large.  There were tables for blood pressure screenings, diabetes screenings, breast/cervical cancer awareness, free health checkups, Fairfax County public resources information, environmental awareness, financial counseling, psychological counseling… the list goes on.  The people were incredibly nice, curious, and willing to help in whatever way they could.

We registered three donors today, which at first glance looks small but I’m extremely pleased with.  Every new person represents a chance at life; the numbers game isn’t what’s important.  It was also partly due to Greater Little Zion’s involvement with causes like bone marrow registration in the past, as we actually had a lot of people tell us they were already on the registry.  It really is a testament to the social awareness of the church and their willingness to engage people beyond their walls.

Continue reading “First Official BeTheMatch Drive”

Step One: Send Emails, Obtain Information

Note: These process posts will likely be short and blurb-y — more of a means for me to chronicle what I’ve done and need to do than express anything extensive. Someday they could serve as a valuable resource for other people who may be interested in pursuing causes of their own. That’d be cool.

Previous web searches I’ve done have shown that there are a ton of resources available on the web for obtaining information regarding bone marrow donation, including the extremely awesome is the website of “Be the Match,” which is the National Bone Marrow Registry. What interests me specifically is their “Grow the Registry” page, where people/organizations can request information kits to host bone marrow drives of their own.

Other sites include (which despite the resemblance in name, I swear I did not steal),, and the Asian American Donor Program at

I want to be able to develop contacts at these types of organizations in the hope of answering questions specific to:

  • Data and statistics about bone marrow as a need — incidence, ethnic breakdowns, etc.;
  • The logistics of bone marrow donation, as the host of a drive;
  • The process of bone marrow donation, as a donor;
  • The process of bone marrow donation, as a recipient;
  • The risks associated with bone marrow donation;
  • The costs associated with bone marrow donation for people of Asian descent;
  • Insights or advice;
  • Prospective contacts;
  • Other ideas as they arise.

My ultimate goal is to fully develop, which currently lies in the same dormant state it’s been in since I bought it several years ago. An issue I’ve found with a lot of sites that explain an issue as complex as bone marrow donation is that their presentation of information can be a bit unclear. I want to make a site that allows prospective donors, donors, recipients and others to know exactly what they’re getting into. No sugar-coating, no under-emphasis of the nature of the actual bone marrow donation procedures, no glazing over of statistics and data to express a specific perspective. Being a nerd by nature, I love the impartiality and revealing nature of data. I’m confident that the data will stand on its own and that the need for donors will speak for itself. My goal is not to deceive or manipulate anyone into becoming a donor. I want people to develop their own conviction that becoming a donor is right for them.

Fortunately I currently work as a web developer, so I can handle the technical development of the site on my own. Unfortunately I have the aesthetic instincts of a gorilla, so I may need to consult the talents of some friends or pay for a design. But I think that’s a worthwhile expense. Regardless, the key to the site will be content, content, content.

This post was significantly longer than I expected it to be, but I think that’s to be expected with these initial posts as I still continue to hash out this idea. I’ll be posting under various “tags” — “Mission” will explain the motives/philosophy behind cheekswab, whereas “Process” will chronicle the steps I’m taking to get to where I’m going. Future tags will be explained as they appear.

Anyway, the goal for today: send those emails.