litterateur 1985 - 2009 "You give your/words to me" December 4, 2009 8:11 AM   Subscribe

I got an email from another member letting me know that litterateur, the young woman who posted a few questions to AskMe about her leukemia and its relapse, died at the end of October. Her questions and comments encouraged a lot of us to become bone marrow donors and learn more about marrow donation.

There's a short obit here and her blog which contains a lot of her original poetry is at Ex Poeta. She also wrote poetry at AllPoetry where her profile page contains a letter from her mother about her first eight years as an adopted Korean girl in America and abroad.

I went looking to see if I could find more information about her and was led, of course, to facebook. Her wall is public and it was touching to see so many friends continuing to post to it giving her updates on their lives and telling her how her cat is doing. A friend made this Vimeo slidehow of photos of her. The person who let me know about her death didn't feel up to writing a MeTa post so I said that I would. Rest in Peace, Kalila.
posted by jessamyn to MetaFilter-Related at 8:11 AM (161 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:14 AM on December 4, 2009


The last poem on her blog is really moving.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:15 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sad news. Thanks for the links, jessamyn. The world was better for her presence and diminished by her passing.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:17 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by typewriter at 8:17 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by carsonb at 8:17 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by Ouisch at 8:19 AM on December 4, 2009


Oh god that sucks.

Yes, please, sign up to be a marrow donor. All it takes is a mouthswab. This is especially important if you're not a member of the majority population in your country.
posted by Kattullus at 8:19 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


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posted by ugf at 8:21 AM on December 4, 2009


Oh my god. Too young.

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posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:23 AM on December 4, 2009


1985. God. I have tshirts older than her. How awful.
posted by Jofus at 8:27 AM on December 4, 2009


Oh jeez, she was younger than I am by a little less than a year. I would have liked to know her.
posted by muddgirl at 8:28 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by mattbucher at 8:28 AM on December 4, 2009


Oh man. So incredibly sad. Too damn young. Ugh.

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posted by lazaruslong at 8:35 AM on December 4, 2009


I just read some poetry and watched the slideshow. I find myself crying over the death of a stranger.

I desperately hope that there is some sort of afterlife.
posted by flarbuse at 8:38 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by Rumple at 8:41 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by futureisunwritten at 8:45 AM on December 4, 2009


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I couldn't make it past the first few posts on her facebook wall without crying. RIP Kalila. I hope those of us that signed up for the marrow registry get to help out someone like you one day.
posted by chiababe at 8:53 AM on December 4, 2009


1985. Fucking Cancer.

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posted by chunking express at 8:53 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by rtha at 8:54 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:56 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by Tesseractive at 9:06 AM on December 4, 2009


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So very sad.
posted by kiwi-epitome at 9:09 AM on December 4, 2009


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Dammit.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:09 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by Rudy Gerner at 9:10 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by cerebus19 at 9:10 AM on December 4, 2009


:(
posted by grouse at 9:15 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by gaspode at 9:17 AM on December 4, 2009


Her poem "Sapienta":



“The story about Thales is a good illustration, Theodorus: how he was looking upwards in the course of his astronomical investigations, and fell into a pothole….” —Plato

Wisdom,
it is said,
is a
symbiosis
between
genius and
insanity.
I do not
know by
whom it
was said,
but that does
not negate
the quality
of the
afore-
mentioned,
do you not
agree?
For one
who is so
entranced
by a thing
that he
disregards
the common
to which all
subscribe
and believe,
he remains
oblivious
to the
normalities
that life
offers.
Is there
madness
entrenched
within
brilliance?
Or is it
merely a
convoluted
diatribe,
a teetering
obelisk
turned
on its
end?

posted by ocherdraco at 9:18 AM on December 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


sad
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posted by marxchivist at 9:18 AM on December 4, 2009


So fucking cruel.
posted by applemeat at 9:19 AM on December 4, 2009


It is no small thing that her words inspired people in this community to join the bone marrow registry. By doing that, she acted as an angel on earth that will bring healing and hope to many other people. The world is better for having had Kalila in it.
posted by bunnycup at 9:21 AM on December 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


. I just signed up on Marrow.org, where it was free. I'll ask my mom and my friends to sign up later, too.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:24 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


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posted by felix betachat at 9:25 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


my first thought is "fucking leukemia" and my second thought is .
posted by pinky at 9:27 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by k8lin at 9:29 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by Deathalicious at 9:30 AM on December 4, 2009


cancer sucks. really, really sucks.

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posted by msconduct at 9:33 AM on December 4, 2009


Oh my gosh, I am so sad to hear this.

The same week a close friend of mine told me he came up as a match to donate bone marrow and was going to do it, she posted her last AskMe post asking how to anonymously thank her donor. For a brief moment after I read it, I wondered to myself if it was possible that it was my friend who was her donor....a very unlikely notion I know, and not something I believed or held onto except in that passing moment.

But still, every time my friend told me about his involvement in donating bone marrow over the last few months, I thought of her and wondered how she was doing....

I'm so sorry, Kalila.
posted by Squee at 9:36 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


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Also, thank you for noting on her user page that she's deceased and linking to this MetaTalk thread. I assume that's something new for verified deaths of members, yes?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:38 AM on December 4, 2009


Looking through her pictures on facebook is enlightening and heartbreaking. She's constantly surrounded by friends and family, active, vibrant, and always smiling. What a beautiful person. What a loss to the world.

I'm glad she had a graduation ceremony before she passed.

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posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 9:39 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by josher71 at 9:40 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by mds35 at 9:40 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by TedW at 9:41 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by SpacemanStix at 9:42 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:52 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by JeffK at 9:53 AM on December 4, 2009


I wish I could write something appropriate profound, but when these things happen words completely fails me.

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posted by miss-lapin at 10:01 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by special-k at 10:01 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by thejanna at 10:02 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by jamaro at 10:03 AM on December 4, 2009


I didn't know or have much awareness of litterateur; It's impossible with as many people as we have here to keep track of all of them. That said, I always feel a little death inside of me when I hear the one of us has passed, out of all the people that collectively I have received so much love from. It really does feel like a family member.

My sympathies to those who knew and loved her.
posted by pjern at 10:06 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


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posted by Caduceus at 10:06 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by anastasiav at 10:07 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by Sova at 10:08 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by burnmp3s at 10:10 AM on December 4, 2009


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Dammit.
posted by Mitheral at 10:11 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by JimmyJames at 10:15 AM on December 4, 2009


So young, and so sad. Cancer sucks.
posted by misha at 10:17 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by theora55 at 10:17 AM on December 4, 2009


My condolences to her bereaved. It looks as though she was loved in life, and loved very much, and that she loved back, which I am sure makes her passing extraordinarily difficult, but what is life without having, and sharing, that sort of love?

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posted by Astro Zombie at 10:17 AM on December 4, 2009


I assume that's something new for verified deaths of members, yes?

Yeah, we added it so that user pages of known-to-be-deceased members could be marked somehow. That feature has been there maybe six months and I went back and added links where appropriate. There's a companion page on the wiki which is actually where the user who contacted me learned about litterateur's death. Someone who had made no other MeFi Wiki updates had added a link to her obit.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:18 AM on December 4, 2009


I joined the marrow donor registry because of those earlier threads. That her story led so many people to do the same is a wonderful legacy.
posted by ersatzkat at 10:30 AM on December 4, 2009


Sad.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:31 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by ottereroticist at 10:32 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by so_gracefully at 10:33 AM on December 4, 2009


I am immensely sad.

I am joining the registry right now.
posted by SoulOnIce at 10:35 AM on December 4, 2009


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I just signed up for the marrow donor registry too. I wish this wasn't the way I found out about joining, though.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:48 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by faineant at 10:50 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by ORthey at 10:54 AM on December 4, 2009


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:-(
posted by -t at 10:58 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by Spatch at 11:10 AM on December 4, 2009


I don't believe I knew about this situation specifically, but I do know it was some story on here that got me to register as a marrow donor a year or two ago. If it weren't for metafilter I never would have even thought of it, so there's my data point.
posted by dead cousin ted at 11:16 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by bru at 11:19 AM on December 4, 2009


so young


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posted by supermedusa at 11:37 AM on December 4, 2009


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This is sad news indeed. I signed up for the registry after reading the MeTa thread about it, as did a few of my friends.
posted by heyho at 11:43 AM on December 4, 2009


Oh G-d, I just went to a friend's funeral last weekend and proclaimed that 29 year olds shouldn't have funerals. 24 year olds either.

There are some conditions where you can't give bone marrow - and I've got one of them - but believe me, I would sign up to be a donor in a heartbeat if I could. No one wants my blood either. I guess they'll just have to wait until I die so I can be a BRAIN DONOR.

(I'd donate that now, but apparently, I'm told that I need it.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:44 AM on December 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


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posted by saturnine at 11:49 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by bitteroldman at 11:50 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by decagon at 11:52 AM on December 4, 2009


Also: I'm glad to see (via FB photos) that she liked Apples to Apples. I wish I could have played a few rounds with her.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:54 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by DreamerFi at 11:55 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by NucleophilicAttack at 11:56 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by scody at 11:57 AM on December 4, 2009


donor registration is still free at Be The Match.
posted by supermedusa at 11:59 AM on December 4, 2009


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posted by caddis at 12:00 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:02 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by amyms at 12:03 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by Iridic at 12:04 PM on December 4, 2009


Please also remember that people going through cancer treatment need lots and lots and lots of blood and platelet transfusions - sometimes every day for weeks at a time. So another way to help, short of and more immediate than bone marrow donation, is blood or platelet donations. Just a thought, and another of my constant plugs for blood donation.
posted by bunnycup at 12:12 PM on December 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


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posted by mogget at 12:13 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by spec80 at 12:14 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by NikitaNikita at 12:15 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by Skorgu at 12:23 PM on December 4, 2009


God, she was younger than my little sister. I missed the original MeTa but am signing up at the marrow registry now.

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posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:24 PM on December 4, 2009


I watched a bit of that tribute on Vimeo. Really moving. The photos at the end, in particular, show what a tremendous burden it must be to fight something like this. What a shame.

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posted by kbanas at 12:36 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by iamkimiam at 12:39 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by nooneyouknow at 12:46 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by inturnaround at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2009


Damn. I'm not eligible for the registry.

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posted by scottymac at 1:01 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by edgeways at 1:06 PM on December 4, 2009


Shit. I was born in '85. So so so sad.

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posted by Lutoslawski at 1:07 PM on December 4, 2009


Leukemia is horrible. A friend of mine has been in remission from it for several months, but we still can't be sure she's going to survive everything her body has been through in the past year. She's 32, and had no significant health issues before this. My heart goes out to Kalila's family and friends.

I liked her posts. I'm sorry we've lost her.
posted by EvaDestruction at 1:14 PM on December 4, 2009


I saw her name on the dead mefites wiki list some weeks back, and stumbled across this poem of hers:
Kalila M. Borden died on Sunday
at her home surrounded by family.
A prolific sojourner, she sought
adventure, she sought knowledge,
and she sought the Lord.

~Nunc caelum scribit~


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Kalila M. Borden died Friday.
She is survived by no one.
She went nowhere.
She did nothing.
She, like memory, will soon fade away.
No memorial service will be held.

~Nunc nihil scribit~
(Spoiler alert: She died on a Sunday.)
posted by bunnytricks at 1:24 PM on December 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


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If I'm ever chosen to donate marrow, I'll tell my donee about the wonderful young woman who inspired me to do so.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:33 PM on December 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


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It's inspiring to see that Kalila left such a legacy: in addition to her poetry, she inspired a number of people --- strangers or near strangers --- to sign up as marrow donors, as platelet donors, as blood donors. That is a great kindness and service she has given to all of us.
posted by Elsa at 1:40 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by various at 1:43 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:56 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by juv3nal at 1:56 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by roll truck roll at 1:58 PM on December 4, 2009


As it goes-

Fuck cancer.


Always has to take the ones who had excellent lives to live.

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posted by Askiba at 2:20 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by contrariwise at 2:40 PM on December 4, 2009


Oh no. I hate all cancer.

Just two thoughts: The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training is a wonderful way to help fight leukemia too.

Also, it would be nice to forward a link to this thread to her friend contact.
posted by bearwife at 3:00 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by penguin pie at 3:04 PM on December 4, 2009


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This was playing on my Ipod when I clicked on this link. Seems appropriate.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:18 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by trip and a half at 3:28 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by threetoed at 3:29 PM on December 4, 2009


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I signed up for Be The Match because of her, and thanks to bunnycup's reminder, I'm going to go reschedule that last blood donation I missed.
posted by Ruki at 3:41 PM on December 4, 2009


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Very sad.
posted by fire&wings at 3:59 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by Electric Dragon at 4:10 PM on December 4, 2009


I am weeping for a total stranger. She seemed like such a lovely person, and the FB messages are heart-rendering. If I was allowed to sign up as a donor, I would. RIP.
posted by gemmy at 4:41 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by dreamyshade at 4:45 PM on December 4, 2009


she was the same age as my younger sister

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posted by Augenblick at 4:58 PM on December 4, 2009


I'd like to thank the person who let jessamyn (and so, let us) know. After her post about finding a donor match, I thought she was going to be OK.

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posted by Houstonian at 5:21 PM on December 4, 2009


Just signed up as a marrow donor.
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posted by Quietgal at 5:29 PM on December 4, 2009


I just signed up to donate. I'm healthy, fit and all too often, take that for granted. I hope I can help some other family avoid the pain of losing a loved one.
posted by pearlybob at 5:37 PM on December 4, 2009


It looks like I'm unable to register as a bone marrow donor due to my bleeding disorder. So, instead, I'd just like to gratefully and humbly acknowledge everyone who's donated blood or platelets in the past or who has signed up to do so in the future... I had to have emergency transfusions 5 years ago this month, and they most likely saved my life, so I thank you. Truly.
posted by scody at 5:55 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


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posted by freshwater_pr0n at 6:14 PM on December 4, 2009


To all MeFites who are of a minority population and reside in the U.S., please do consider becoming a bone marrow donor as . The Bone Marrow Donor Registry is extremely lacking in minority donors, which leads to a 35-45% chance of a donor match if you're an ethnic minority. Compared to the 80-85% chance of a match if you're a Caucasian and the problem is quite obvious. Here's a blog post with some statistics. Here's another story from 2008.

The Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches and Asian American Donor Program would be glad to hear from you if you're of an asian persuasion. I thought I'd mention them since they're two organizations that I know about.

But regardless of whether you're a minority, please do register to become a donor.

RIP, litterateur.
posted by ooga_booga at 6:30 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:33 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by OolooKitty at 7:06 PM on December 4, 2009


This is awful. I followed a couple of her posts here and she seemed like such a sunny, warm person.

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posted by lalex at 7:16 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:25 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by R. Mutt at 7:37 PM on December 4, 2009


Another thing for those who already are signed up as marrow donors... please take a few minutes to check that the registry has your correct contact info. It does no good to be a match if they can't find you, and a lot of people get swabbed but forget to keep their info current over the years.

(Also, cancer effing sucks. that is all.)

posted by somanyamys at 8:13 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by purephase at 8:16 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by Hildegarde at 8:22 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by readery at 8:33 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by Dee Xtrovert at 8:40 PM on December 4, 2009


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nthing sign up to be a bone marrow donor.
posted by garnetgirl at 8:44 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by bakerina at 8:54 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by EmilyClimbs at 9:03 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by mwhybark at 9:42 PM on December 4, 2009


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posted by spinifex23 at 9:51 PM on December 4, 2009


mccarty.tim: ". I just signed up on Marrow.org, where it was free. I'll ask my mom and my friends to sign up later, too"

Thank you, Tim, for this link. I looked through the medical history requirements and am ineligible -- heart attacks and also sleep apnea -- but I am going to forward this on to all my people, a good cause.

ocherdraco: "Her poem "Sapienta"

Thank you ocherdraco for her poem that you posted, which I've stayed with for a few reads to let it soak through; the more I read it the more I like it, it's fun and it's cool. I sent it to a poet friend, will send it to others, hopefully I'll take the time (make and take or whatever) to look through more of her poetry; this was good. Thank you for posting.

Thank you bunnycup, for the reminder to donate blood and scody for backing it up-- I can't give (drug abuse history) but again, I'll put this out to my people in my circle here, every bit helps, who knows what one persons gift might help save the next fine poet or painter?

Thank you for letting us know, Jessamyn.

A loss to this world, a real sadness over here on Riverside Drive -- this thing is so fragile, one false step and we fall through the ice. A kid I mentor, 26 years old, a pretty kid, a good kid, clean, sober, happy, healthy, chasing girls and chasing his dreams and contributing greatly, found out last year he had lymphoma, walked through unbelievable horror show radiation and chemo but got free, got cleared yesterday, he's free, he's skinny and weak and tired but he's free, a happy ending but could just have easily gone the other way. It's not fair, bunnycups loss makes me so fucking mad I want to ... fuck, I don't know. I don't know. It hurts, is all.

A sincere thank you to all of you forming this online community which has comje to mean so ridiculously much to me these past years.

I hope for peace to her family and to you as you read this.

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posted by dancestoblue at 1:54 AM on December 5, 2009


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posted by goshling at 5:36 AM on December 5, 2009


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posted by Dumsnill at 7:40 AM on December 5, 2009


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posted by serathen at 12:16 PM on December 5, 2009


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She was the same age as my older brother. His life is just starting. I feel so sad, and so lucky, right now.
posted by MadamM at 1:04 PM on December 5, 2009


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posted by jasper411 at 4:45 PM on December 5, 2009


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posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 8:34 PM on December 5, 2009


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posted by limeonaire at 8:50 PM on December 5, 2009


somanyamys says to update your contact info.

I signed up at in-person drive a few years ago, but I'm sure my contact info is out of date; does anyone know *how* I should go about updating it?
posted by nat at 4:07 AM on December 6, 2009


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posted by TooFewShoes at 4:28 AM on December 6, 2009


Thanks for those links, ooga_booga.

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posted by vespertine at 5:01 AM on December 6, 2009


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posted by lmm at 8:22 AM on December 6, 2009


I looked into the marrow donation, and without going into crap I've already gone into, I am not eligible. The first time this came up it was a financial burden that prevented me from registering. It really seems dumb that the person registering could ever have to pay to do so (or maybe I read that wrong). Tag me in another 5 months though and I hope to say I've done it. I wish I was a bit rarer tissue type, but I can only do what I can do, right?
posted by cjorgensen at 3:39 PM on December 6, 2009


Oh no, I remember her AskMe about finding a donor as well... I lost my aunt to leukemia this year and have donated twice.

This is terrible.

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posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:12 PM on December 6, 2009


I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity. - Gilda Radner

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posted by allkindsoftime at 1:29 AM on December 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


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posted by june made him a gemini at 2:54 AM on December 7, 2009


Yeah, sorry, nat, linkage would help, huh?

For US-ians, The National Marrow Registry has a page for members to update their contact info. If you don't have the ID numbers that they ask you for, there's a free text field for you to provide any other info that might help them identify/locate your record.

Thanks for doing this.
posted by somanyamys at 8:39 AM on December 7, 2009


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I need to sign up when I get to a real computer.
posted by bilabial at 7:59 AM on December 9, 2009


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