Local ‘Survivor’ puts winnings to good use 

Yul Kwon knows all about being a survivor — he recently won $1 million as the last contestant standing on CBS’s hit television show of the same name. Now that the show is over, Kwon decided that he wants to create a few survivors of his own.

"[All the money] is still sitting in a bank account — in a checking account, not even collecting interest. I don’t know what to do with it," Kwon said.

On Valentine’s Day, which happened to be Kwon’s 32nd birthday, he decided to give $50,000 of his cash from winning "Survivor: The Cook Islands" to the Asian American Donor Program, in the hopes the money will help educate Asian-Americans about the importance of bone marrow donation.

"The show has really been a platform for me to make a difference," Kwon said.

Kwon, a San Mateo resident, is all too familiar with the struggle faced by many Asian-Americans diagnosed with diseases such as leukemia.

His childhood friend and college roommate Evan Chen was diagnosed with leukemia during their sophomore year at Stanford. Chen finally found a bone-marrow donor, but it was too late.

According to Jonathan Leong, chairman of the AADP, Asian-Americans and other minorities often don’t come forward and register to be a donor or seek a donor because of cultural stigmas.

"In Chinese culture, for example, giving blood is considered unsanitary," he said.

For more information on becoming a donor, visit www.aadp.org.


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