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Joining Bone Marrow Database Could Save Redwood City Teacher

Mt. Carmel Principal Teresa Anthony urges the Bay Area community to sign up for marrow testing drives.

 

Two years ago, the Mountain View community who succumbed to leukemia.

Before and after her death, through the efforts of her mother Patty Juanes, residents and employees of Mountain View helped to build awareness, fundraise and register bone marrow donors.

"When Jen was first searching for a bone marrow she thought she would test minority because we are Spanish, Filipino and white," Juanes told Patch and added that the family held bone marrow drives at Cuesta Park and Mountain View City Hall and the Academy of Arts. "Luckily Jen tested white so she had 100 matches."

Now the Redwood City community asks potential bone marrow donors to register after it learned that Mount Carmel Catholic School Physical Education teacher Eugene Borja with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Jen Juanes also died of ALL.

Eugene Borja, 37, has begun treatment at for the cancer, which affects the white blood cells that fight infections. It is mainly found in children, but can afflict adults too.

Had Jen tested minority, her chances would have been even less because minorities tend not to register in large numbers her mom Patty explained. Juanes believes that information is important, information that could help save Redwood City Physical Education teacher Eugene Borjas.

"It so important because the Asian community is scared (superstitious) to donate and the more education, the better," Juanes said. "We even went on the Filipino channel and Chinese pleading for people to test. Telling them how easy it to test and how easy it to donate."

Mt. Carmel Principal Teresa Anthony sent out this note to encourage the community to test if they could be potential bone marrow donors.

During the holiday season, a was made between a New York safety officer and Redwood City Executive Assistant Deanna LaCroix's son, saving the young boy's life.

From the Principal's Desk:

Dear Families:

As Mr. Borja continues to fight his leukemia, please remember to keep him in your prayers. Also, if you are of Pacific Islander or Asian heritage, we urge you to consider being tested as a possible bone marrow donor. Please read this article for more information about Mr. Borja and upcoming Asian American Donor Program marrow testing drives.

Blessings,
Teresa Anthony

Juanes also added some words of support to the Borjas family.

"Never give up; you must go the distance," she said. "I have seen people of Asian descent without the perfect match survive. Don’t be afraid to ask."

"Though we sadly miss Jen we know finding cure is something she wanted," she continued. "Give him our best and we will be thinking of him."

-- Patty Juanes

 

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Kimberly Pereira September 14, 2012 at 07:38 PM
People shouldn't be so afraid to get tested, it's simply a swab of the inside of your cheek with a q tip. If you were called to save another's life, how could you pass on giving such a gift? Giving stem cells is much like giving blood. I would endure great pain, if it meant saving a life. Even when a match is found, people don't often understand how awful it is to receive a stem cell transplant. What it does to you, how scary it is and how you aren't guaranteed a cure. Please, please get past your fear and put yourself on the registry. What if this happened to you?

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