Kina Grannis Continues the Donor Search for Her Mom

Sign up for a swab kit online. It only takes 5 minutes. You provide hope. We cover the rest.
Sydney Ross, Digital Marketing Manager
by Sydney Ross
Digital Marketing Manager
Further articles

Singer-songwriter Kina Grannis and her sisters, Emi and Misa, are on a mission to find the life-saving donor for their mother, Mama G.

"If you know our family, you know that our mom is an incredibly magical human. If you don’t know our family, trust us when we tell you that she brings light to everything and everyone she touches. Right now, she needs your help." - Kina, Misa, and Emi

Emi Grannis on the left, hugging her mom. Trish (Mama G) Grannis is in the middle with her daughter, Kina Grannis standing up against her on the right.
Mama G and Emi Grannis are both sitting in a chair at night with the light on. Emi is curled up in Mama G's lap on her right side.
Trish Grannis and her 3 daughters are standing close together smiling for a photo. From left to right it is Emi, Kina, Misa and Trish.
Mama G is curled up in a gray blanket while wearing a red hat. She is sitting on her husband's lap. Both are smiling.

Trish Grannis, more affectionately known as Mama G by her friends and family, received the devastating news that she was diagnosed with a bone marrow cancer called myelofibrosis. She needs a blood stem cell donor as soon as possible to provide her a second chance at life.

It's important to note that while general blood donations are dependent on a matching blood type, blood stem cell donations are actually based on genetics. As a result, the best donors often are individuals of the same ethnic background. In the case of Mama G, who is Japanese, there is a higher probability her perfect donor will also be of Japanese and/or Asian descent.

As it currently stands, the likelihood of Asians and other people of color finding a match is significantly lower due to a lack of representation on the registry. That is why the Grannis family is asking their AAPI fans to consider registering as a potential donor.

Below, read the Mama G's story, as written by her daughters.

The Story of Mama G

The Grannis girls are all huddled together smiling at the camera while outside in a park. From left to right is Emi, Misa, Kina, and Mama G.

Our mom’s journey actually began much earlier than her Myelofibrosis diagnosis in 2021. 21 whole years before that, in the year 2000, she started experiencing severe abdominal pain and ended up in the hospital. It took a while to determine the cause, but she eventually emerged with a diagnosis of Polycythemia Vera, an incurable blood cancer in which your body produces an excess of red blood cells. She was prescribed phlebotomies to thin her blood and prevent clots, and chemo drugs injected multiple times per week to manage her blood levels. She lost hair, memory, and balance. However, after years of experimentation with her medical team and the dedicated stewardship of our dad, they found a treatment plan that seemed to completely eliminate all signs of the disease. The needles and the small glass vials became a ritual performed out of habit, the reason for it scary and yet distant, like a shadowy stranger standing in the far corner of a room. And we got to pretend that everything was okay for a long time.

All the while, she did not miss a beat. The typical creative fervor with which she approached all aspects of life was only amplified, her late nights only got later, as she accelerated her pace. She worked tirelessly to spin joy for us, our family, our friends, and our schools, never knowing how much time she had left to make life feel magical for as many people as possible. She sewed or constructed outrageous Halloween costumes for us, including a Viking ship for two, a 6-foot-tall Goosebumps book and a house, and when we got too old for trick or treating she planned and executed an elaborate haunted house in our garage for years, raising money for charity. She started a copy shop at the high school to help the harried teachers running to make photocopies between periods. She designed countless t-shirts, calendars, logos, and banners for our schools for free, redesigned all of the forms for my dad’s office for fun. She orchestrated incredible birthday parties and summer hangouts by the pool, was better friends with many of our classmates than we were, and gave us access to her vast stores of art supplies to ensure we never turned in a boring school project. She taught us that we never had to settle for normal, that there was always room for magic.

21 years of borrowed time is what she got. And even now, with her new diagnosis and strict orders to take it easy, she refuses to slow down. (We even had to invent a code word that, when invoked, commands her to lie down and rest.) And now it’s our turn to do for her what she’s done for us for her entire life—work tirelessly to bring the magic back to her, and find the donor that will save her life.

Get Registered as a Donor

Anyone between the ages of 18-55 in general good health is eligible to register. All it takes is a 3 minute cheek swab. Click the link below to request your FREE swab kit to be sent directly to you home. All you have to do is fill out a few eligibility questions, wait for your packet to arrive, swab your cheeks, and send everything back in the pre-paid envelope!

Sign up for a swab kit online. It only takes 5 minutes. You provide hope. We cover the rest.
More ways to help
You can support DKMS in many ways and give hope to more blood cancer and blood disorder patients.