Fair Fight
For All

Nina Polvanich Louie

My Story

My name is Nina Louie.  I was diagnosed with cancer 2 weeks before my son, Donovan’s, second birthday celebration.  We cancelled the party, and I was admitted to UCLA with Stage IV lymphoma. I went through seven brutal rounds of R-EPOCH  regimen after which my oncologists sat us down and said, “your PET scan is clear”.
Three months later, at a routine follow up scan, the unthinkable happened. A small rogue cancer cell had travelled to my brain.  There it was, a tiny spot on the scan almost too small to notice yet larger than life. I lost my breath and sank to my knees. My husband caught me in his arms and said, “Babe, we got this.”  In those 895 days we suffered, he stayed so strong for me. I never once saw him cry.
We were desperate.  I did not have a stem cell donor match in the registry and we were running out of options.  We thought maybe we could hold a few bone marrow drives and feel good that we did all we could.  One morning, in the waiting room of hematology oncology, I reluctantly hit the share button and allowed the world in to my pain.

The response was incredible.  My friends organized the Save Nina campaign (www.savenina.com) which went so viral that it added 20,000 people to the registry.  I had letters daily from strangers telling me they were praying they were my match.  And three times a week, a mom from my community would drop off a meal for my family. I know now that the stars shine bright in the sky and there is such goodness in the world.

I went through 15 more rounds of chemotherapy and 10 rounds of radiation. I did not find stem cell match through the registry, but I did receive transplant from a miracle baby cord donor found in Florida.
Today, I keep myself busy chasing my 6 year old Kinder and blogging about my on the Huffington Post: http://m.huffpost.com/us/author/viniya-834

Thank you for reading about my journey.  May the stars shine upon all of us.


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Profile picture of Nina Polvanich Louie

July 30, 1980

Ethnicity Why does this matter?

One reason: DNA.
The best donors tend to come from the same ethnic gene pool as the patient. It’s actually the only situation in the world where race legitimately matters.

China, Thailand


United States



Diagnosis date

7 years, 3 months ago

Transplant date



Lymphoma stage IV