Fil-Am with leukemia appeals to community for marrow donor

Lovell Sevilla needs a marrow donor.

In 23 years of her service to the community, she may have affected your family in a positive way and today she needs your help.

The daughter of an army officer, Lovell traveled the world but came back to the US and graduated from UCLA. She chose a career path that allowed her to serve her community, like her father. She became a student counselor at UCLA and poured her heart into her work. Today, as the director of UCLA’s Honors Program and a recipient of the Chancellor’s Service Award, “Lovey” has impacted thousands of students’ lives over the past 23 years.

Until November 2013, Lovell’s life revolved around her students’ needs. Her focus was making sure that each and every one of them was able to do their best and reach their highest potential. However, around June of that year, Lovell suffered some health issues and was also diagnosed with severe anemia. She was hospitalized for some time but was able to go home after some treatment. However, her health did not return to normal and in November she was hospitalized again. She did not think much of it and once she felt a little better she was back at work for her students.

One day, walking from the parking lot to the office, Lovell found herself severely out of breath. It took 25 minutes for her to walk the short distance to her office.

Immediately, she went to see her primary doctor for another check-up. After doing some blood work, he asked her to go to UCLA and see Dr. Schiller.

Within hours of that visit, she received the devastating diagnosis of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and was admitted to the hospital for chemotherapy on the following day, December 14, 2013.

Lovell spent Christmas and the New Year at UCLA undergoing chemotherapy.

The news about her diagnosis was posted on social media and the love poured in. Lovell has touched so many lives through her work that one by one, people stopped by to wish her well. During that time Lovell was surrounded by her dear friends and dedicated students. They decorated her hospital room to make sure that she didn’t feel alone.

A few weeks ago, Lovell found out that she needs to search for an unrelated donor in order to receive a potentially, life-saving, bone marrow transplant, as no one in her family is a match.

Less than 1 percent of the donors in the Be The Match registry are Filipinos. A person is more likely to find a donor from the same racial or ethnic background. This is because HLA markers used in matching are inherited.

In spite of the terrible news, Lovell wants to stay positive. She says, “This is my Eat, Pray, Love moment, this is my way of coping with my situation. I tell myself that I am not on medical leave but on a sabbatical, which will be over soon and I will be back with my students, doing my service.”

Lovell wants her story to be told so she is able to continue to serve people. She said, “Who knows, some other lives could be saved by the donors that may register during my campaign. I want to create awareness about marrow donation even after I get well.”

For Lovell, life changed from helping others to being in need herself. Since no one in her family is a match, she is looking for an unrelated donor. It could be you! To be a part of the registry you have to be in general good health and between the ages of 18 to 44.

Please visit a3mHope.org to find a donor registration drive near you or call Kenshin Kubo for more information.

This campaign is organized in part by her students, who love her dearly. Please make a difference! Register to be a marrow donor today.

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