Tzu Chi Works to Help Find Bone Marrow Donors for Alex, Roeuy and Others in Need

Healthy Community Program  |  January 14, 2019

Life is so precious, especially to those who are battling a disease and fighting to stay alive every day. Alex Tung is one of those people, a young Chinese-American who caught the eye of Tzu Chi and others who saw his plight.

Alex has acute myeloid leukemia, a type of leukemia that begins in the bone marrow but then quickly moves into the blood. While he is in his fourth and final round of chemotherapy, which was on Nov. 26, Alex is in great need of a bone marrow donor to help save his life. As an Asian patient, his chances are slimmer because they “find a donor only about 40% of the time.” Every 10 minutes in the U.S. alone, approximately one person dies from blood cancer.

Alex takes to the waves and surfing as he believes it allows him have faith and be patient, allowing him cope with the day to day trials he faces in his life.

All the scary stuff that comes along with cancer, it’s easy for you to start panicking. Cancer is something that is totally beatable. Just got to be calm and just breathe and take it one day at a time and just believe that the turbulence will stop and you’ll surface from the water.

He likes to read the teachings of Buddhism that says to lessen our desires and be content with what we have eventually helping our mind to grow.

Musician Wakin Chau has joined the effort to help find a donor for Alex. Since he has the bandwidth to reach many, his voice is important.

Finding a bone marrow match is Alex’s only hope. Please register to become a bone marrow donor.

For Roeuy Garay and Joseph Barker, what should have been a joyous time of their lives took a turn for the worse. Roeuy was sick and wasn’t getting any better after she gave birth to their daughter Brooke. They found out she had cancer, which came as a surprise to the entire family, including Roeuy’s three children from a prior relationship.

And we were just like, cancer? Like thereʼs no cancer in my family at all you know, thatʼs wrong…My god, I just had a baby. My kids, you know.

After the children were told, they were terrified of what could happen to their mother. Joseph, who never thought marriage was for him prior to meeting Roeuy, was involved in planning their special wedding day. He wanted to ensure it would happen while trying to keep a positive outlook for Roeuy, their new daughter and the other children.

“Theyʼve been great, and I appreciate them and I love them so much. And Iʼm fighting for them,” she says.

As they forged ahead with their wedding plans, Roeuy continued to try to stay strong although the cancer made her very tired. Joseph was always devoted and never left her side, always being right there for her. The plans for their wedding would continue as they continued their fight, hoping and waiting for that miracle.

We have a cure for cancer. Donating bone marrow or stem cell is no longer a painful process. Itʼs very similar to giving blood.

With only 6% of Asians in the donor registry, there is a great need for donors with the Asian community to come forward. By donating, you can help save someone’s life.