In the fight for one life, Team Kris Miner hopes to save many
In April, Ken's wife Kris (left) was diagnosed with Stage 4B Large Cell Lymphona, a very intrusive form of cancer that carries a life expectancy of 1-3 years. Doctors called for immediate, aggressive treatment, prescribing a stem cell and bone marrow transplant.
The path to the procedure, however, was halted May 11 when Kris received news that of the 17 million people in the National Bone Marrow Registry, there was no match for her.
But with a hopeful outlook and a belief in the power of social media, her husband is spearheading an awareness campaign with the goal of getting 1,000 more people signed up for the registry.
The Miner's work began the day after they learned the registry did not have a match for Kris. Ken (right) called his friend Joe Cox, director of social media at Barkley and president of the Social Media Club of Kansas City. "(I) asked him to be part of Kris' team and to help bring a team together to spread the word using social and digital media," Ken said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
"(Kris) wants to tell her story, to be able to help people. That's ultimately what she wants. Now, I'm a little more selfish; I want to find a match to give her the best possible chance of living."
As of Thursday morning, 103 people had signed for up the registry using a custom landing page, join.marrow.org/krisminer. To sign up, registrants just need to swab the inside of their cheek, a free, painless and at-home procedure that could help save Kris or any of thousands of other patients with blood cancers.
Spreading the word about her condition hasn't been easy though; Kris considers herself a private person, and she's never had a Facebook or Twitter account.
"It was hard for me to ask for help, but we're in a situation where we need help right now," said Kris, who has remained working her job at Lionshare Marketing. "And when I am healed and I am better, I'm going to pay it forward."
The response to Team Kris Miner has been a positive one. Following a presentation by Ken on Wednesday, for example, more than three dozen #TeamKrisMiner tweets were posted.
"I'm overwhelmed, and I'm extremely grateful for the help and the support and really the actions by people I either know through social applications … or frankly that I don't know at all," Ken said. "It's just the community of digitally connected people that are helping."
Kris echoed Ken's sentiment and hinted at a Twitter account in the coming weeks. "The result and the response that we've seen, it is just incredible and it's impactful, and (social media is) something I'm certainly going to be participating with in the future."
Kris recently completed her second round of chemo, and because the cancer wasn't regressing like her doctors had hoped, Ken said, they added another drug to her regiment.
"Chances are, I may not have a match, but, you know, it only takes one," Kris said, "and we're going to help a hell of a lot of people."
How you can help
To register for program, Team Kris Miner has set up a custom link that tracks their goal to 1,000 sign-ups: join.marrow.org/krisminer. They're also aiming to raise $25,000 for the organization. Ken said the monetary support is meaningful, as well, as it costs the National Marrow Donor Program around $100 per test conducted.
Also, this isn't the first time the tech community has seen an individual expecting for a bone marrow transplant drum up awareness on Twitter. In October, a friend of the founder of Photojojo turned to social media to encourage people to sign up for the bone marrow donation program. In January, a match was found.
Credits: Photos courtesy of Ken Miner