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Joanne Pang Foundation
Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2001, Joanne and her family fought a courageous two year battle against this disease. Had Joanne received a bone marrow or cord blood transplant early in her treatment, she most likely would have lived. Joanne's father, Dr. Joseph Pang, started the Joanne Pang Foundation to provide hope to families faced with a diagnosis of a blood disease.
The Joanne Pang Foundation launched Cord Blood for Life, a historic public cord blood donation program that is the only program accessible to all eligible donors throughout the state of California. On January 19, 2011, the first donation to Cord Blood for Life was collected by the Joanne Pang Foundation from a South Asian donor at St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco.
The Joanne Pang Foundation works in partnership with the MD Anderson Cord Blood Bank in Houston, Texas, and utilizes the "remote kit model" which is offered at no charge to the donating mother. Each kit provides the mother with supplies and instructions to facilitate cord blood donation. All cord blood units banked by MD Anderson are listed on the national Be The Match registry.
Since the inception of the program, the Joanne Pang Foundation has targeted large obstetric practices with ethnically diverse populations to educate physicians and childbirth practitioners about the importance of public cord blood donation. Since that time, word has spread across the state of California and we have consented over 300 women at 55 hospitals working with nearly 200 health care providers in California. Of the units we collected, 38% have been accepted for the Be The Match registry, far exceeding the national standard for the "remote kit model".
The outreach and education provided by the Joanne Pang Foundation has significantly increased participation in public cord blood donation among historically under-represented ethnic groups throughout California. Among the mothers we have consented, 42% are of Asian heritage and 38% are of mixed-race. Their donations will help ethnic minority patients searching for a life-saving match to have a chance for a cure.
The Joanne Pang Foundation always facilitates the donation process from start to finish. Trained staff work with donors to determine their eligibility to donate, and complete all the necessary paperwork required for donation. Our assistance enables the MD Anderson Cord Blood Bank to reach significant numbers of donors in California. Most importantly, women in California now have a choice about what to do with their baby's cord blood.
The Joanne Pang Foundation Cord Blood for Life Program relies on funding from individuals, private foundations, and corporate matching grants. With a small dedicated staff supported by an engaged board of directors and passionate volunteers, the Joanne Pang Foundation has made a major contribution to the cord blood banking community. In June, 2012, Joanne Pang Foundation Chief Operating Officer, Helen Vydra Roy, received the KPIX Channel 5 Jeffers Award for Community Service for her untiring commitment to the Cord Blood for Life program.