UH alum seeks bone marrow match to survive - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

UH alum seeks bone marrow match to survive

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It's a race against time to save Alex Tung's life.

The 39-year-old University of Hawaii alumnus and Chinese-American surfer from California said on June 26, 2014, his doctor told him he had Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a very aggressive form of cancer.

"I kind of sat there for a second and I really had to process it. I really didn't believe what he was saying. And I remember even asking him, ‘You mean cancer? Like leukemia cancer?'" said Tung.

Tung said doctors told him cancer cells occupy 90-percent of his blood stream and he doesn't have much longer to live.

"You know when your friend is suffering or when your friend needs help, it's never a good thought that you might lose them or that they're not gonna be here," said one of Tung's best friends Kammy Chang.

The day after Christmas marks six months since Tung's diagnosis. Tung said that's also the deadline doctors gave him to find a bone marrow match in order to live.

"His best chance would be another person of Chinese descent who can match him,” said Roy Yonashiro, Recruitment Specialist at the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

Yonashiro said matching donors and patients are based on genetics and ethnicity.

“The problem with that is, out of 12 million donors registered, about seven percent are Asian,” Yonashiro said.

He said Caucasians make up close to 70-percent of registered donors.  Yonashiro said they did a search through the nationwide registry for Tung and there is no match, which means someone new has to step forward.

So as the clock ticks and time continues to run out, Tung's friends are hosting the first fundraiser in Hawaii for him Sunday night at Dave & Buster's at 1030 Auahi St, Honolulu, HI 96814 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. to help with his mounting medical bills. There will also be a bone marrow drive to encourage registration and to ask others to give the gift of life this holiday season.

"I don't have brothers and sisters to look after my mom, I don't have a dad to look after my mom, I'm the only one. So I for sure told myself that I will not, with all my power and all my might and all my will, I will not allow myself to go before my mom and I will do everything I can to beat this cancer and to be here for my mom so I can see her off the way it was intended to be," Tung said.

To help Alex's cause visit bethematch.org/join and use the promo code: SaveAlex808 starting on Dec. 1, 2014. 

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