Nick Glasgow, a 28-year-old multiracial Nikkei whose battle with leukemia drew worldwide attention to the need for more stem-cell donors, died in early October. A memorial service was held on Oct. 17 in Hayward, Calif.
Defying tremendous odds, the Fremont man received a successful bone-marrow transplant at Stanford Hospital & Clinics in August, and was declared cancer-free. However, the cancer returned in late September.
Scott Lopez, Glasgow’s co-worker at EMC Corporation’s Pleasanton, Calif. office said, “Nick hung in there as long as he could. He will definitely be missed. It doesn’t seem real, it’s still sinking in.”
Another co-worker, Stacy Morales, added, “Nick was a fighter. He was definitely determined to beat this.”
Glasgow, who was originally diagnosed with leukemia in March, faced heightened obstacles in finding a bone-marrow match due to his multiracial heritage.
He was three-quarters Caucasian and a quarter Japanese. There is only a small percentage of Asian donors, and the number in the multiracial category is even smaller. Glasgow’s company, along with his family members and friends, worked to bring international attention to his plight. Inspired by his story, thousands came forward to get tested. Two perfect matches were found in June.
Carol E. Gillespie, executive director of the Asian American Donor Program, said that Glasgow will be remembered for putting a spotlight on the need for bone marrow donors — especially those of mixed race.
“Nick raised awareness around the world. He brought the focus to the mixed-race community, which rallied around him,” Gillespie said.
“The need for donors is pretty tremendous. We still need to see more people register,” Gillespie said.
In late September, Glasgow and his family learned that his cancer cells had returned and that there was no more that doctors could do for him.
His grandfather wrote, “Nick took the dreadful news with great equanimity and shook the doctor’s hand and said, ‘Thank you for giving me a chance’ with the transplant.”
Glasgow’s mother, Carole Wiegand, who worked with her son, was by his side during his final days at home.
Morales said, “What’s most memorable was that Nick loved his mom. They were best friends. They had a very special relationship.”
Lopez, who played on the company flag-football team with Glasgow, said that his friend had been optimistically looking toward the future. “He had been through some struggles, and he was very positive about taking the next step.”
In lieu of flowers,Wiegand has requested that donations be made to the following organizations in Glasgow’s name: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Asian American Donor Program and the Be The Match Registry.
To register to become a bone marrow donor, contact the Asian American Donor Program at www.aadp.org or call (800) 593-6667. The next bone marrow registry drive will be held in Fremont on Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Home of Christ Church Fremont, located at 4248 Solar Way.