Hapa Marrow Match supports the renewal of the California Cord Blood Collection Program. We will attend at the Senate Health Committee Hearing on March 29, 2017.
Here’s our statement of support:
I am here to voice my support of SB 23 because it will make it easier for multiracial people to fight blood diseases such as cancer and take the pressure off of finding a perfect bone marrow match.
My name is Greg Mayeda. I am Executive Director of a volunteer organization called Hapa Marrow Match. Our mission is to increase the number of multiracial Asians in the National Bone Marrow Registry.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the historic Supreme Court case that struck down anti-miscegenation laws. Fifty years later, multiracial people are the second fastest growing segment of the population. Census data tells us that multiracial people represent nearly 7% of the US population.
I was born three years after Loving. My ancestors come from Japan, Ireland, England, Norway, and Portugal. My children, who were born 38 and 43 years after Loving, also share their mother’s African American heritage and are related to Mildred Jeter Loving, a plaintiff in the case. I imagine that some day they will have children who will be able to claim an even more diverse heritage. If anyone has doubts about America being a melting pot, I urge them to take a look at my family.
Even though the number of multiracial people continues to grow, we still only represent 3% of the National Bone Marrow Registry. So for people like me, my children, and our friends and relatives, finding a perfectly matched bone marrow donor is much, much harder. For people like us, our ethnic background can become a matter of life or death.
Adding multiracial people to the National Bone Marrow Registry is challenging because potential donors must be at least 18. Today, nearly half (46%) of all multiracial Americans are younger than 18. This means they are too young to join the Bone Marrow registry.
The vast underrepresentation of multiracial people in the Bone Marrow Registry makes the passage of SB 23 all the more important. Cord blood is a lifesaving alternative to finding a perfectly matched bone marrow donor. As you have heard from others today, cord blood is easy to collect and it’s easier to match. The Cord Blood Program will help continue to save lives, including the lives of people like me, my children, and so many others in our growing multicultural society.
I urge the Committee to support SB 23.