Mililani family seeks
bone marrow match
to save father's life

Bone marrow donors are being sought this weekend to help a 29-year-old Mililani resident with multiple myeloma, a disease that attacks the bones.

Efforts to find a match for Tu Minh Tran, who is Vietnamese and Chinese, have not been successful because there are few donors with that ethnic background, said Roy Yonashiro, donor recruitment coordinator for the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

A bone marrow drive is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow during the New Baby Expo 2003 at the Neal Blaisdell Center's exhibition hall.

Tran and his wife, Casey, have a 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Caylin. They bought their first house in Mililani before their daughter was born, Yonashiro said.

Doctors have given Tran two years to live at the most without a bone marrow transplant, but a transplant could extend his life another 10 years, Yonashiro said.

Multiple myeloma is a malignancy of plasma cells involving many sites in the bone marrow. It has moved into Tran's spine and he has been at The Queen's Medical Center for two weeks for more chemotherapy, Yonashiro said.

A doctor has described the disease was "like a moth eating away at clothes," with patches of bone eaten away, Yonashiro said.

He said Tran's "chances of finding a donor are pretty slim" unless the donor drive produces a match.

His parents -- Chanh and Sac Tran -- and two brothers and a sister registered as bone marrow donors but there was no match.

Neither have any matches been found in the Hawaii or national registries, Yonashiro said, noting that only about 187 donors out of 63,000 in the local registry are Southeast Asian or Vietnamese.

"Southeast Asians are the least likely to register as donors because of the language barrier and understanding of donating bone marrow," he said.

Volunteers must be between 18 and 60 years of age and in general good health. A small blood sample is collected for tissue typing and the donor is placed on the registries at no cost to the donor.-

St. Francis Medical Center
Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry


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