Friends Crusade for Marrow Match

Dunster Alumnus With Leukemia May Have a Month to Live

A2/B48/DR1101/A26/B35/DR0406. For Alan J. Kuo '85, a Dunster House alumnus suffering from chronic myelogeneous leukemia, this string of letters and numbers means life or death.

Friends of Kuo, an AIDS researcher at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), say Kuo has been told he has only one month to live.

"I am sad that my promising career is being prematurely terminated by a random disease," Kuo, 33, said on his page on the World Wide Web, which has attracted more than 21,000 visitors.

Kuo's relatives and former roommates have organized drives all over the world in hopes of finding a marrow match for Kuo.

However, in part because only 200,000 Asian-Americans currently are registered with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), Kuo, a Chinese-American, has yet to find a match.


Time is rapidly running out. Nevertheless, organizers of Harvard's bone marrow drive, which will take place in Loker Commons on Sept. 23 and 24, remain optimistic about Kuo's chances.

Because Kuo's best match will most likely be found among people of Asian heritage, Harrison W. Lin '99, co-president of the Chinese Students Association (CSA), which is co-sponsoring Harvard's bone marrow drive, hopes all Asian-Americans on campus will register.

He and other volunteers have postered campus kiosks and made presentations to minority organizations to attract as many Asian-American students as possible. Asian-Americans comprise 18 percent of the undergraduate population.

"It just takes 15 minutes, and you can save a life," Lin said.

"It just takes 15 minutes, and you can save a life," Lin said.

A Fatal Discovery

Kuo, a native of Cherry Hill, N.J., who now lives in Berkeley, Calif., had just finished his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and moved to San Francisco to work in the labs of UCSF when he went in for what he thought was a routine eye appointment.

"He told me that he had gone in to get new eyeglasses," Kenneth D. Ho '85-'86, one of Kuo's former roommates in Dunster's G-entry, recalled. "And when the eye doctor was looking at his eyes, he kept him in for an hour and told him there was something unusual."

"At the time, I joked with him and he laughed about it, too," Ho said. "He kept saying, 'All I wanted was new glasses."

Then Kuo found out that he had chronic myelogenous leukemia in March 1995.

"It makes me sad that reality demands that I change my life, my plans, my ambitions," Kuo wrote in an e-mail to friends in April 1995.

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