My name is Chantal Napalapalai. I was a foster child since I was two years old. At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with acute leukemia (ALL), a form of childhood leukemia. The leukemia went into remission after receiving treatment, so I could then continue my schooling at Leeward Community College.
At age 24, I was a single mother of two young girls and was devastated to get the news that the cancer had returned and this time chemotherapy wasn’t enough to eliminate the cancer. I was told I needed a bone marrow transplant to survive. However, in order to even consider having a transplant, I needed both a caregiver and a matching marrow donor. Luckily for me, I found both and was able to receive my transplant in 2011.
I was blessed with the ultimate gift of pure kindness from a complete stranger who gave me the opportunity to be here for my two children. When I was able to talk to my donor (he was a 20-year-old college student in Washington D.C.) over the phone, it was really emotional for me. He told me he had registered for a fellow student on campus that had lymphoma. But, he didn’t match him. He matched me.
Thanks to him, I am now able to pursue my dream of helping young adults transition out of the foster care system. I want to help nurture them to their full potential, and prevent them from feeling alone in this world like I once felt.
It has been several years since my transplant. Every day is still a struggle, yet, a blessing.