Friday, July 27, 2007

my letter to family and friends

Here's the letter that I mentioned which I had been working on to get out to family and friends.

July 23, 2007

Dear family and friends,

I hope this letter finds each of you and your families well as you enjoy the pleasures of summer.

As I am entering a new period of transition, I thought this would be the perfect time to update you on my progress. On June 8th, I graduated with a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from The University of Chicago. As a requirement for the completion of my degree, I also wrote a thesis titled, “From the Steppe to the Sultanate: The Role of Baybars’ Political Realism and the Making of Policy with the Byzantine Empire,” which is about the nature of thirteenth century diplomacy and commercial relations between the Mamluk Sultanate, a Muslim dynasty in Egypt, and the Byzantine Empire, a Christian power of the eastern Mediterranean world.

During the last few months of the academic year as I worked towards the completion of my degree, I also received chemotherapy treatments at The University of Chicago Hospitals in order to get me back into remission, which it did successfully, after my recent reoccurrence of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma following the autologous stem cell transplant in January-February 2006.

I’m preparing to be admitted to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on Friday, July 27th for an allogeneic non-myleoablative stem cell transplant with the hope that this treatment will cure me of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma for once and for all. Although I am in remission presently, it is the opinion of all the medical experts with whom I have consulted that the disease will return unless treated and that the best hope for a cure is the allogeneic transplant which has been made possible by the generosity of an unrelated adult donor.

Consequently, I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage you, your family, and others you know to register as donors in the National Marrow Donor Program. Every year, thousands of individuals with leukemia and lymphoma are in need of a donor, who may offer the chance of a cure. Ironically, I myself registered as a potential donor on the NMDP registry while in college not knowing that some years later I’d be searching for an unrelated donor to cure me of my disease. The only reason why I was fortunate to find a donor is because a wonderful stranger out there stepped forward and registered.

The need for minority donors is particularly serious, since it is significantly more difficult for members of these communities to find unrelated donors. I encourage you to please visit or call 1-800-627-7692 for more information. For a brief introduction as to why donors (especially minority donors) are so needed, please watch the video clip at Your donation may save a life.

Despite this difficult setback and the challenging road ahead, I have my eyes focused on a future that is cancer free.

I want to thank you for all your continued encouragement and support. It has meant so much to my family and me.

With love and sincerest wishes,


The Journal of a Prizefighter


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