What is the Asian American Donor Project?

Monday, October 15, 2012
By, Annie Doan
The Asian American Donor Project (AADP) is dedicated to helping save the lives of patients with life threatening blood diseases curable by a stem cell transplant. In 1989, two Asian leukemia patients, Amanda Chiang, 9 months, and Judity Jang Berkoltz, 32, were in desperate need of bone marrow transplants. Both patients were unable to find a match within their own families. Turning to the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) Registry, the patients hoped to find unrelated marrow donors. With only 123 Asian donors listed on the National Registry, they were told that the prospects of finding compatible donors were virtually impossible.

Determined family and friends of the two patients made a statewide appeal to recruit more Asians onto the Registry. Despite the tremendous emotional and financial sacrifice which led to the successful recruitment of more than 2,000 Asians, no matches were found. However, the unfortunate deaths of these two people gave birth to the compelling mission of the Asian American Donor Program (AADP) and the hope of new life to others www.aadp.org . Since then, AADP has grown to an organization that outreaches to and encourages all ethnic minorities to join the national Be the Match Registry. In 2008, AADP expanded by launching its Latino Outreach Program.

Everyday, thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening blood diseases need a marrow transplant to survive. Seventy percent of patients will not find a donor within their family. They turn to the Be the Match registry to find someone willing to offer them a second chance at life. Due to the severe shortage of minority donors listed on the registry, multi-ethnic patients face an even greater challenge when searching for a donor match. For this reason, AADP is dedicated to increasing the availability of potential stem cell donors for patients with life threatening diseases curable with a stem cell transplant.

Along with hosting hundreds of marrow registration drives throughout the bay area each year, AADP also hosted several benefits to raise funds and awareness about the need for more donors to register. This spring AADP hosted our 3rd annual Laugh for Lives Comedy Benefit at the Palace of Fine Arts. Laugh for Lives (LFL) started as an inspiration from Alan Maravilla whose cousin, Francis Agana, passed away from leukemia; Francis was unable to find his matching donor. Through LFL, Alan hoped to raise more awareness about the importance of Asian participation in the registry and sign up more potential donors.  Laugh for Lives featured a wonderful cast of comedians, Air TabigueKevin SheaJustin RiveraNancy Lee and our headliner – Dat Phan.

AADP also hosted our 4rd annual Barry Foon Celebrity Golf Tournament in honor of Barry Foon, an avid golf player and friend who lost his battle against lymphoma in 2007. The celebrities included 1992 Olympic Gold Medalist and 2008 Dancing With the Stars Champion, Kristi Yamaguchi and MBL Athletes, Vida BlueDarren Lewis,Fred Breining and Rich Murray along with former NHL player, Bret Hedican.

We were also very excited to host our 1st ever Hip Hop for Hope Dance Competition at the Palace of Fine Arts on May 15, 2010. We invited talented bay area dance crews to compete for a $1000 Grand Prize while taking a stand for a wonderful cause- SAVING LIVES! Through HH4H, we hoped to use dance as a medium to community the general public about the need for more multi-ethnic donors on the registry.

Lend AADP a helping hand in our mission to racially diversify the Be the Match registry to give all patients the second chance to love, laugh and live!


For more information or to request a home test kit, please go to www.aadp.org


Annie Doan

Senior Outreach Coordinator
Asian American Donor Program

  • Wilhelmina

    I’m rellay into it, thanks for this great stuff!

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