Over the last four months, Bloodworks Northwest’s SAVOR LIFE. SAVE A LIFE. campaign has brought together the best our community has to offer, tying our region’s hunger for delicious, soulful food and its relentless and universal need for blood spanning communities, ethnicities, and origin stories.
We’ve heard from French Chef Thierry Rautureau, a longtime pillar of Seattle fine dining. And we’ve chatted with the folks at Olympia’s Three Magnets Brewery, whose “It Takes All Types” blood orange IPA is both a clarion call for blood donation and an ode to a co-owner’s father who is here today because of it. And we’ve heard about the harrowing moments Lakehouse Bellevue owners Jason and Deborah Friend Wilson needed blood to live, leading to their passionate involvement in our cause.
Today, we’re meeting someone we already know in a new way. Trinh Ong is known in Seattle as the passionate owner of Mi La Cay, a Vietnamese street food restaurant in the International District that feels like the fastest way to get to Ho Chi Minh City this side of a Concorde flight.
Trinh has been giving us that culinary gift for thirty years now. And for almost the past year, Bloodworks blood donors, even through recent blood shortages, have giving her a different gift back – the gift of life. Despite her vibrant, infectious energy, she’s needed blood and platelet transfusions weekly since she was diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia in June 2021.
Like many leukemia patients, Trinh’s only chance at a cure was with a bone marrow transplant. Her doctors at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance first tested her siblings for a match since each of them had a 25% chance to be suitable – the highest of anyone else – but none were.
She then had to turn to the National Marrow Donor Program and Be The Match, but due to her ethnicity, she had just a 47% chance of finding a matched donor. This is why diversifying both the blood supply and the bone marrow donor registry is so important – just for being who you are, you could be someone’s only shot at a second chance. So please donate blood and join the marrow registry today. Be the Match. Save a Life.
“The donor gives me a second chance of life,” she says. “I want to raise awareness in our community and encourage people to sign up to be a donor and help save a life. I hope that sharing my story and putting a name and a face to the importance of blood and marrow donation helps to encourage people, especially from the Asian community.”-Trinh Ong
At the earliest, Trinh will return to work in a year’s time. To someone whose passion for cooking began at age 12 and was chased out of communist Vietnam in 1979, we say this: we’ll see you for some of that famous house noodle soup soon.