Goes Live!

5 months later, the website is ready to go live.

It’s been a long road, with probably upwards of 100 hours of writing content and making design choices. But I’m pleased with how everything turned out, and I think it could serve as a really valuable resource to anyone who wants to learn more about becoming a bone marrow donor.

Brief acknowledgements:

  • Elly Kim, the fantastically talented and patient designer of the logo at the top of the page;
  • The number of close friends and family that gave me advice, encouragement, and helped proofread the content of this site;
  • The National Marrow Donor Program, for providing such an incredible, live-saving public service and a wealth of information on their website;
  • Anyone who has joined or considered joining but wanted to learn more about the bone marrow registry;
  • Those patients needing a bone marrow transplant and their loved ones.

Check back for updates, and please share the link to those who many not know about the cause already! We’ll also be on twitter: @cheekswab.

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”

Finding Inspiration

It’s 11:xx PM on Saturday evening, and in 9-some hours I’m running another marrow drive at my home church. The hope this time is to speak to some of the college kids who are back for the holiday.

I’ve been in this position before. Music playing quietly from my speakers, reclining in my chair and looking at the ceiling, trying to determine exactly what the appropriate message is for the audience I’ll be speaking to. Not that I have a huge amount of time to speak — I’m guessing 5 minutes — but I’ve come to learn that 5 minutes isn’t a short amount of time, either. It’s enough time for one emotion. But what emotion should it be?

Eventually the words will come, I’ll play with them a bit and I’ll go to sleep semi-ready for tomorrow. I’ll look over the words a couple times tomorrow morning and then service will come and I’ll do my thing.

I wonder where those words come from. It’s not as if I have some overarching speaking strategy when it comes to specific demographics. But I do know what I say tomorrow to the college kids won’t be the same as what I said to the adults a couple months ago. I have a feeling, from somewhere, for some reason, that the message for the adults is not the one that the college kids need to hear. They need to hear something different.

I’m not sure why I feel that way, but the feeling is very real.

Amit Gupta

Amit Gupta is a silicon valley/tech entrepreneur who has been in tech news a lot recently because he needs a bone marrow transplant.  He was diagnosed with AML, and there’s a very active search for a donor.  See his website here:

One of my favorite tech websites/news aggregators, Hacker News, has had news about Amit on-and-off for the last couple weeks.  When I opened the most recent post I saw this comment at the top:


The concept of donating bone marrow terrifies me. I imagine a doctor drilling into my skeleton and using a large needle to suck out the gooey stuff that makes my blood. It sounds absolutely horrific.

If I were ever to consider doing this, someone would have to educate me to the point where my perceived safety is high. Right now I know that this probably won’t kill me, but I don’t understand it enough to trust it. I imagine that I am not the only person in this situation.

I also felt terrible writing this. My fear is absolutely petty compared to the fear of being struck down by leukemia. Perhaps that’s why I felt obligated to share.

Continue reading “Amit Gupta”

Under Construction: Dev, Part I

Sitting in Starbucks on a Friday evening, with Firefox/Firebug, Photoshop, and WordPress to keep me company.  WordPress has become so customizable/plug and play/non-developer friendly that it’s almost like learning an entirely new language to get it to do what I want.  Shortcodes and WP functions are everywhere.  I’m fortunate to have learned PHP for my internship a few years ago and some experience with creating a WP site already, as it’d be an entirely different monster for someone unfamiliar with web development/PHP/jQuery/CSS.

I’m not where I’d like to be in terms of progress on this site, but I guess it’s better late than never.  Unless I dedicate time intentionally (like Friday night) to this site, it’s continually slipping through my fingers.  After looking at code for 8 hours at work I’m not exactly psyched to come home and look at more code during the week.

Working on a Friday night doesn’t bother me.  Starbucks provides the perfect environment for dev work: ambient noise, random things I can stare at aimlessly when I’m thinking through something, something to sip, caffeine, power outlets and wifi.  When I think about things I’d otherwise be doing tonight (probably eating something fattening followed by doing something mindless), it’s a worthwhile trade off.

Back to work.