ALAMEDA, CA — 31-year-old Lisa Marie Evangelista was diagnosed back in December 2016 with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, which is a rare and aggressive blood cancer. A bone marrow transplant is needed to ensure her survival.
Evangelista has partnered with the Asian American Donor Program to help find possible bone marrow donors.
Workers at AADP says Evangelista is a fighter who continues to help others despite her own circumstances.
“Lisa’s amazing. She’s so full of life. She’s really warm and welcoming everyone’s that met her that’s what they say about her,” said Mylanah Yolangco. “And she’s actually really dedicated to her patients who have cancer. She’s a speech pathologist for them.”
Evangelista is one the latest of the many kababayans looking for bone marrow donors, like Los Angeles police officer Matt Medina.
AADP says that Filipinos are the lowest ethnicity in the national registry.
“Right now there’s about 13.5 million people on the registry. So 61% of that is Cauucasian and Filipinos, like I said, only make up .5% which is 72,000,” said Yolangco.
While the numbers are low, there have been some successful matches within the Filipino community.
Kristine Sydney randomly registered on the East coast and saved Mailyna Mayate’s life.
Registrants for bone marrow donations must be 18-to-44 years old, and meet general health requirements. They also have to sign a consent form, and complete a cheek swab.
“It doesn’t take that much of your time and for these people it’s their whole lives.”