In 1991, Sharon Sugiyama started a grassroots movement to recruit a marrow donor for her nephew Nick. A lifesaving marrow transplant was Nick’s last hope. Challenged with the low number of minorities, particularly Asian and Pacific Islander bone marrow donors in the national marrow donor registry, Sharon founded Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M) with the goal of increasing the likelihood of minority patients finding a marrow match.
Today, with the support of A3M’s fiscal sponsor, Little Tokyo Service Center (non profit organization), A3M is one of the largest minority recruitment centers in the Be The Match Registry. A3M provides culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach, education and marrow donor recruitment in ethnic minority communities, including but not limited to: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, South Asian, Thai, Vietnamese and Latino.
Located in the heart of Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo community, A3M’s work impacts patients around the world. A3M has recruited over 300,000 potential donors to join the Be The Match Registry. Over 400 A3M donors have gone on to donate their marrow or blood stem cells, giving hope to patients in need of a life-saving marrow transplant.
A3M facilitates bone marrow drives all over Southern California. They work at many different locations from college campuses to churches to festivals. Each recruiter speaks the language of the community they work in, providing ethnically specific materials to anyone interested in registering. A3M’s biggest event is their annual fundraising gala Starnight. Every year there is a dinner, silent auction, and raffle. The culmination of the event is the first-time meeting between a patient and a donor. It’s a touching moment that leaves no eye dry. For more information visit www.a3mhope.org