In Memory of Joanne Tsai

Hi Buggy Alumni,

This is our friend Joanne, an Apex driver who recently passed away after fighting leukemia for almost a year. She drove Azula for Raceday 2018, and was a great friend and an important member of our team. Joanne was one of the warmest, friendliest, most reliable people any of us have had the pleasure of meeting. She handled frigid, early rolls with a smile and a snarky attitude. She was always willing to give us her all, fitting herself into our tightest, most uncomfortable buggy with a positive(ish) attitude. While she may have been driver-sized, she had more strength and resilience than anyone. She faced every hurdle with stubbornness and determination, and she never gave up or stopped caring about her friends. She was hilarious, wicked smart, and, above all, a great teammate and friend. We love Joanne and her friendship and warmth made all of our lives infinitely better.

In her memory, some people on our team put together a virtual bone marrow registry drive. Bone marrow donation is an important part of battling leukemia and other similar conditions, but it is very difficult to find a match for everyone who needs a donor due to the genetic complexity of bone marrow. The buggy community is partnering with Be The Match, a national bone marrow registry that helps connect people with compatible donors as quickly as possible so they can get the life-saving treatment they need. About one in 300 people gets selected to donate, and if you are selected, your expenses are covered. It is an outpatient procedure and it is minimally invasive– yet it truly can mean life or death for these patients. 

How you can help: If you are between 18 and 44 and in good health, you are eligible to become a donor. Registering is quick and easy; all you have to do is sign a consent form and send a cheek swab, which they send you in the mail. You can start by either texting “CMU” to 61474 or click on the online link https://join.bethematch.org/CMU. Use these personalized links so we can accurately count how many individuals have joined the registry in Joanne’s honor. Otherwise, please spread the word and encourage your friends and family to register.  More information can be found at https://bethematch.org/ and at this doc. Please contact Amanda Vallon at axoknpresident@gmail.com with any questions. 

Joanne lives on in all of us, and it’s up to us to make the positive impact in the world that she would want to make. Her kindness and spirit continue to radiate outwards and our hope is that we can direct this love to people who are fighting a battle similar to hers.

Much love!

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