Working as a fashion executive in Manhattan and raising two young boys with her husband Bill, Mandy was a multitasking Mom extraordinaire. But in the summer of 2013, she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and her life was turned upside down. She was immediately admitted into the hospital for chemotherapy and her family was instantly in the race to find a bone marrow donor to help save her.
While 30% of patients can find a donor in their family, Mandy didn’t even have that hope. Born in Korea in 1973, she was abandoned as a baby and found on the street on Christmas Eve. The Manocchio family of Walpole, Massachusetts adopted her and she grew up as part of a happy Irish-Italian family. With her diagnosis came the challenge of finding a donor who shared her ethnic heritage. Potential donors with Asian roots compose only 7% of the national registry.
The family and friends held donor drives in New York, Boston and South Korea as Mandy underwent her chemotherapy treatments. In October, on her birthday, Mandy got the “best birthday present ever.” A donor had been found in Germany. Mandy got her transplant later that fall and was home in time for Christmas with her family. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my donor and thank her for saving my life,” Mandy writes.