I would like to introduce myself and ask for help in search of a potential cure. My name is Viet Lam and I am 37 years old. I am grateful for the many wonderful opportunities that were given to me. I was born and lived in Vietnam for eleven years before my two siblings and I defected on a small boat. After refugee camps, we settled in the United States of America. Through the generosity and the kindness of many people, I graduated from college and went on to obtain a medical degree.
Practicing internal medicine in California allowed me to serve a diverse community. Yet, I did not truly grasp what my patients and their families go through until May 2007 when unexpectedly, I was diagnosed with an advanced aggressive Large B-cell Lymphoma. How could it be possible when I led such an active life? I did not have significant symptoms, except intense itching. After going through the usual emotional stages, I was determined to overcome this obstacle. With the help of a great medical team and loved ones, I successfully went through eight cycles of R-CHOP chemotherapy. Equipped with a new life perspective, I lived each day to its fullest. In 2009, a wave of suspicion and fear crashed over me when the same intense itching and new profound fatigue hit me. It was confirmed that I had widespread recurrence. My determination and optimism did not reward me with a remission after an additional three cycles of R-ICE chemotherapy. I do not have a matched donor in my family, like 70% of patients needing a marrow transplant. Therefore, my only chance for a potential cure is an unrelated donor match.
My Chinese Vietnamese ethnicity provides me not only a unique life perspective, but it also makes it much more difficult to find a match. This is why I am asking you, particularly those from a Non-Caucasian background to consider being a potential donor. There is a tremendous and urgent need for thousands of people who continually hope for a miracle. I am encouraged and hopeful that we can expand our national registry and particularly those of under represented backgrounds. Through your awareness and support, I believe that we can both close the registry gap and provide a second chance at life for those thousands of patients. I thank you for learning more about the National Marrow Donor Program and for the gift of life.
An online drive has been set up for those who could not attend local drives. For further information, please visit