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Dying singer appeals to citizens to ‘Live for Life’

Date Posted: 2005-11-19

A top Japanese singer dying of leukemia called on her fans to ‘Live for Life’ and make the most of everyday opportunities.

One of those fans picked up the challenge, writing a letter to a newspaper asking the public to “divide the happiness” and get involved in a bone marrow donation program. He understood that the singer died because she had no opportunity for a bone marrow transplant, so he registered with the Japan bone marrow bank.

It is now a crusade for the unidentified man, who says readers are often afraid to take big steps in understanding illnesses and disease. He’s been to blood donation centers and the Red Cross offices, and is working now to educate the public about leukemia.

Bone marrow transplants are often difficult, because it’s tough finding the same types blood in white blood cells. Medical officials say the odds of finding the right match range from one in 10,000 to one in one million. Often brothers and sisters are the only suitable donors, but not always. Japan has 2,000 patients requiring bone marrow transplants every year, with several hundred coming from Okinawa. Last year there were no suitable donors among the 200,000 registered.

Officials say they need at least 100,000 more bone marrow donors registered with the program in order to serve needs. The man who wrote to the newspaper says “Let’s divide the happiness and get more people involved. Let’s register with the donor center.” He reminds readers “You could help someone, and not let someone die.”

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