Today’s Brilliance from Patrick Pedraja

When was the last time you saved someone’s life? Most of us have never had that chance even though we all say we would if we could! Well, did you know that you CAN do something really simple to possibly save the life of someone, maybe a kid like me, who desperately needs your help?

My name is Pat, I’m 13 years old and I have Leukemia. Even though I do not need a marrow transplant there are 35,000 people, who are just like you and me, out there searching for a matching donor right now! A simple cheek swab can put you on the National Marrow Donor program registry to see if you are a match for someone! When I was diagnosed with Leukemia I learned how so many people are dying every day without a matching marrow donor. I decided to do something to help and created a national marrow donor drive called Driving for Donors! I traveled around the country with my family and added over 12,000 donors to the registry. I sold ads on my bald head to raise over $150,000 to pay the tissue typing fees to add all the donors and have helped find 5 matching marrow donors for people in need.

Even though I’m a kid, I know how it is to get so busy and wrapped up in all the things we do every day that it is easy to forgot to help someone else. But really, how hard is it to do something for ourselves, for another person or for the world in order to make a difference. It could be something simple we could do like stopping to pick up a piece of trash, smiling at someone or holding the door open for the person behind you, or taking the time to do a cheek swab or give blood that could save someone’s life. I decided I liked inspiring people and created an organization called The Planet Us to help inspire and encourage kids to make a difference in the world around them!

I want people to stop and think about how they live every day. Are you rushing around, annoyed at the little things, never enough time to get things done so you always seem grumpy? One thing I have learned in the past few years while undergoing chemotherapy is that life is short and can turn around in an instant when you least expect it. In the end, you won’t be remembered by how many hours you worked or the cool stuff you have. Instead, you’ll be remembered for the impact you make on the people and the world around you. Live every day like if it’s your last and take the time to make it count!

Patrick Pedraja

Patrick Pedraja was a healthy, active and happy child for most of his life. But his whole world changed when he was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 10. While undergoing chemotherapy treatments himself, Pat watched as a friend passed away without a matching marrow donor. He learned about the critical shortage of marrow donors on registries around the world and Pat decided that he needed to do something to help. Pat came up with the idea of a national marrow donor drive called Driving For Donors and set a goal to add 2007 new marrow donors to the National Marrow Donor Registry in 2007.

Pat raised over $150,000 to pay the necessary fees to add people to the marrow registry by selling ads on his bald head on eBay. Pat and his family boarded a donated RV and started on a 32 city national marrow drive around the US in the summer of 2007. In just 3 months Pat more than doubled his original goal and added over 6500 donors to the marrow registry!

Pat has raised awareness about the need for marrow donors, especially minority donors, by hosting media events around the country. He has been featured on shows such as The Today Show, Access Hollywood, CNN Heroes, Larry King Live, Mas Vale Tarde and Despierta America. Pat has also received recognition for his efforts by being voted as the CNN Heroes Viewers Choice Award Winner as well as being honored with several other awards such as the Do Something Award, Kohls Kids Who Care, Build A Bear Huggable Heroes, and several more.

There was tremendous interest in Pat's 2007 Driving for Donors events, both nationally and internationally! He continued his drive in 2008 with marrow drives around the US and Internationally. Pat has registered over 11,000 marrow donors so far and found 5 life saving matches for people in need.

Along his journey, Patrick realized that he had a real gift to inspire people. He decided to continue his work, not just with marrow drives, but with all social action causes. Pat created a website called The Planet Us to show people doing amazing things to help others and encourage people to take action in whatever way moves them in order to make the world a better place.

Pat's other ventures include writing a children's book called Where's Your Hair?" teaching kids to be accepting of others with difference, he also plans to write a series of books for young people about different "causes". Pat is an accomplished and sought after speaker (featured with The Agency Speakers, Inc) who speaks to businesses, schools, non profit and youth organizations, hospitals and conferences about his story, being motivated, the power of positive thinking and how you can make a difference. His slogan is "You're never too young to change the world".

Pat is now 16 years old and in remission!

For more information, please visit theplanetus.com.

View all posts by Patrick Pedraja.

What Do You Think?

What Do You Think?