There’s no tragedy in life like the death of a child.
Things never get back to the way they were.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Bria Chism lost her battle with cancer at the age of 6 in 1999. As her family watched her slowly slip away they became painfully aware that from her initial diagnosis her chances of survival were slim. Even though her mother had plenty of support from grandparents, and siblings their just being there wasn’t enough. Bria needed a marrow transplant to survive and there just wasn’t a large enough pool of African Americans on the registry to draw from.
Her grandparents Walter and LaGail Chism asked why and found out that minorities in the United States in general are not represented on the National Marrow Registry and this was primarily due to a lack of awareness that marrow transplants save lives.
LaGail and Walter decided that they did not want any family to suffer the type of loss they did simply because they did not know.
The Bria T. Chism Foundation was established in December of 1999. Our mission is simply to increase the number of minorities on the National Marrow Donor Program, so that minorities with leukemia and other blood related diseases have a better chance to survive.
Since 1999 we have added more than 15,000 people of color to the National Marrow Donor Registry. Several have answered the call to donate their marrow and save a life! We have worked with people of color throughout the country’ including African American, Arab American, Latino, Hispanic, Laotian and Native American communities and increased all their numbers in the national registry. We have registered individuals in communities as far east as Atlanta Ga, south to Birmingham AL, west to Denver CO and north to Fargo SD. We offer grants for utilities, medicine and other costs associated with fighting leukemia and other blood related diseases.
We are determined that things never go back to the way they were in 1999, that people of color are not aware that a marrow transplant will save a life-but only if you get on the National Marrow Registry.