Wishing you all Happy New Year and a Smooth Sailing through 2009!!
Approximately 250 people attended the first annual Red Kite Gala last month. The evening was co-hosted by Jana Katsuyama, reporter of KTVU Channel 2 News, and Scott Hildula, president of the Joanne Pang Foundation. The highlights of the evening were the Life Saver Award to Dr. Jordan Wilbur for his lifetime contribution in pediatric cancer treatment, and the presentation of an advocacy film titled “One Child, One Cord, and Two Lives,” which was co-illustrated by Kimberley Jones, Eric, Dr. Morton Cowan, and Brian Bender.
I was speechless and deeply touched by the warm support from everyone for this NCUBB project at the gala. Truly, the benefits of umbilical cord blood therapeutic treatment for leukemia and other cancers are indisputable. However, the need for a nonprofit and public umbilical cord blood bank in Northern California is long overdue. If it were God’s intention that Joanne be a messenger of this terrible disease, leukemia, she certainly had done her part.
We plan to consult with the key hospital officials in the next few months to see if we could first start this life-saving project in the first half of 2009 as a collection site-a logical step before a full-blown cord blood bank is put in place. The testing and the storage of each cord blood unit would be managed by other reputable cord blood banks. In light of the current economic doldrums, we believe that this intermediate step would permit us to quickly help expand the umbilical cord blood registries to be available worldwide to all patients in searching for a life-saving cord blood transplantation.
Finally, on behalf of all JPF board members, I would like to express our wholehearted appreciation to the honorary gala chairs, planning committee chairs, auction donors, and attendees for joining this “Journey of Hope” and providing unwavering support for the patients struggling with cancer, and their loving families.