Friday, March 21, 2008

You Can Be a Hero!

I avoid putting personal material on this blog. For one thing, I'm a private person. For another, I assume that readers come here for a discussion relating to animation, not about what I had for breakfast.

This really isn't about me, except as background material. My mother died last summer from Hodgkins Lymphoma. My father currently has pancreatic cancer. I've spent a fair amount of time at Memorial Sloan Kettering, the cancer hospital in New York City where both my parents received treatment. Sitting in the waiting rooms and walking through the hallways, it's astounding how many people are being treated for cancer. While some of these people may have engaged in behavior or occupations that put them at risk, the majority are just unlucky. Cancer doesn't discriminate much in terms of age, sex or ethnicity.

I went to school briefly with Glenn McQueen, the Pixar supervising animator who passed away several years ago from cancer. Recently, two people I admire, musician Jeff Healey and artist Dave Stevens, both died of cancer at relatively young ages.

Since my mother became ill, I've lost my innocence. Cancer was something exotic that didn't touch my life. Now, the damned thing is everywhere. Another friend, Emru Townsend, is battling leukemia and a condition called monosomy 7, which complicates his treatment.

You may know fps. It started as a print magazine about animation and has become a website. Emru is the founder and runs it. He's also worked as a technical writer for animation software companies, so if you're in the business, you may have read some of his words. He's using his media savvy to publicize his situation, hoping that print and the internet will help his cause. The best thing about it is that no matter what happens, his campaign will definitely help others.

Emru needs a bone marrow transplant. The tough part is finding somebody who is a genetic match. All it takes for a potential donor to be tested is a saliva swab or a blood sample. The odds of you being the person who matches Emru are, frankly, pretty low. But the odds of you matching somebody needing a transplant are higher. Emru is urging people to provide samples to the world-wide database. With every additional sample, the odds for Emru and those with similar needs get better.

If you have encountered cancer, you know how tough the treatment is and how stressful it is to contemplate an uncertain future. Anything that offers hope is a valuable gift. You may offer someone that gift by providing a sample. The terrible irony is that someday you may need that gift and Emru's campaign may provide it for you.

Visit for more details and click the graphic above to learn more about how and where to provide a sample.

1 comment:

Tamu said...

I know this is such a departure from your usual entries. Thanks very much for this.