Christmas is a wonderland of enchantment—giving to a cause you care about; giving a gift to someone you love; receiving a gift, in the spirit of the holiday cheer.
Today, I give: The Jaden’s Christmas Love Story.
There was once, a little boy named Jaden Hilton. He was three-years-old, when he died from the disease, Leukemia on January 29, 2007.
Jaden, a beautiful, bright-eyed child with a great big smile grew up in the State of New Jersey.
And even though, over two-hundred thousand children and adults around the world die from Leukemia there was hope—for Jaden.
If family members and friends were a genetic match; if the National Registry had a match in their donor bank. If you asked: “What is a match?” The National Bone Marrow Program® (NMDP) and its Be The Match Foundation® explains their mission. “Our nonprofit organizations are dedicated to creating an opportunity for all patients to receive the bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant they need, when they need it. Every year, thousands of people of all ages are diagnosed with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases. Many of them will die unless they get a bone marrow or a cord blood transplant from a matching donor. Seventy percent of people do not have a matching donor in their family and depend on the Be The Match Registry® to find a match to save their life.”
In 2004, two people never suspected their lives would be woven into the battle ground of saving lives. But in a moment, Shana and Brett Melius met at a photo shoot; it was “love at first sight.” Their marriage and mission became one, by way of—Jaden Hilton.
Mr. and Mrs. Melius knew the family of Jaden Hilton and at his funeral; they vowed to inform people about his story. The Melius’ said, “We decided to educate individuals about the need for donors through Bone Marrow, Peripheral Blood Stem Cells (PBSC) and Umbilical Cord Blood donation.”
Along with dedicated volunteers, a nonprofit organization, Preserve Our Legacy was created in 2007. On May 20, 2010, Jaden’s Law was established in the State of New Jersey.
The Melius’ stated, “When a sick patient’s own family is not a genetic match, their only chance for survival relies on someone who is generally of the same race and is already registered in the National Registry. For example, someone of African-American decent—yields only a 7% chance of finding a non-related donor within the National Registry because of the lack of African-American’s registered. Individuals who are suffering from various Blood Immune diseases (cancer, sickle cell anemia, AIDS and up to 76 other diseases) depend on the individuals that are healthy from the same genetic race to help save their life.”
The Melius’ continue, “Becoming a donor is a simple process and donating is not as painful as people perceive. There are two ways this can be done.
- You can register within the Bone Marrow Registry, which is the completion of a confidential form and four swabs, two per cheek; you must be healthy and within the ages of 18-60 years old; if you are a match, it is important that you step up to donate when you are called upon.
- If you are a woman and you are pregnant, you can register to donate your umbilical cord blood through the public option at no cost to the mother, through our program: Preserve Our Legacy Umbilical Cord Blood Program, presently available at Harlem Hospital Center (506 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY 10037). These precious cells can also help save a life and even cure certain diseases.
In conclusion, The Jaden’s Christmas Love Story is linked to Shana and Brett Melius. Their boundless mission, their matched words: “Life is about giving and being thankful. If you are healthy; wouldn’t it be great to share your good health with someone who isn’t so healthy, who is in a desperate need of your life saving adult stem cells, in order to stay alive? The greatest joy in life should be—the joy of saving someone else’s life.”