As many of you know, I am a composer/producer by trade. One of my personal heroes is Michael Brecker. He “set the bar” for an entire generation of saxophone players (myself included). Attempting to copy his improvisational style is a “rite of passage” for aspiring musicians young and old. You are not unfamiliar with his work, you just might not know him by name.
The following letter is posted on his website, http://www.michaelbrecker.com Please read it and do what you can. Thanks – Shelly
A Letter From Susan Brecker:
Dear Family and Friends,
My husband, Michael Brecker, has been diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) and it’s critical that he has a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant (which has nothing to do with embryonic stem cells). The initial search for a donor,including Michael’s siblings and children, has not resulted in a suitable match. We now hope to have as many people tested as possible that share a similar genetic background as my husband. There are some important points to understand concerning this process:
1. The screening involves only a blood test. It can be done very easily at a donor center of the National Marrow Donor Program [NMDP]. The blood test identifies your HLA tissue type. The cost for the test is generally $40 to $95 depending on the donor center and the lab that completes the test. After this initial testing all medical expenses are paid for by the patient or the patient’s insurance. Go to www.marrow.org or call 1-800-MARROW-2 to find the donor center nearest you. In NYC, you can make an appointment with Frazier at the NY Blood Bank [212-570-3441 / 310 East 67th Street]. The test is $40. If it’s difficult to make it to a blood enter, private kits are available from Tepnel Life Codes [800-915-3695]. Order the “HLA [A][B][DR]” kit for $140. You will need to have a small vial of blood drawn. Indicate to Tepnel that your test is for “Michael Brecker” and they will know to whom to forward your results.
2. As a volunteer donor, you are never legally obligated to donate. A late decision not to donate, however, can be life-threatening to a patient and among the most disheartening news a family can ever receive. Consider your decision to be a donor carefully. Thanks.
3. Should you be selected as a potential donor for Michael or any other patient,please understand that there have been tremendous advances in “bone marrow transplants” and the term itself can be misleading. At major cancer centers, blood stem cells can, in nearly all instances, be harvested directly from your blood. A donor is simply connected to a machine that separates the needed cells before the donor’s blood reenters his/her system. On occasion such cells may have to be harvested directly from your bone marrow. All the necessary precautions are taken to ensure the donor’s well-being and safety. In the event you’re asked to donate blood stem cells, a volunteer will first receive a thorough physical examination—at no cost to him or herself.
4. A match for Michael would be most likely come from those of Eastern European Jewish descent. If you or anyone you know are in this category please make a special effort to immediately get tested. Please also note that testing is free for minority groups at NMDP blood centers. Ultimately, you would be doing something not just for Michael, but for so many more who are in a similar situation as my husband.
5. You are now part of our Internet-based drive for donor testing. If everyone who receives this email can motivate a bunch of their friends to get tested, and those friends then forward the email to get their friends to get tested, we will have rapidly expanded the pool of potential donors. I urge all of you to get tested AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Finally, any local National Marrow Donor Program donor center can assist in organizing a drive for Michael, although it would be desirable if you can get a large group, e.g. a synagogue, to sponsor it. The “Gift of Life,” an organization whose mission is to increase the representation of the Jewish people in the bone marrow donor pool will test you for free when part of a donor drive organized through “Gift of Life.” For further information call 561.988.0100 http://www.giftoflife.org. There exist other organizations that have a similar mission for African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, etc. Whatever your roots, please get tested to assist others!
Should you have any questions about any of this, do not hesitate to get in touch with Michael’s management office at 212.302.9200 or firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you so much for your love and support. We are so grateful.