Boca Raton, FL, October 20 – Amid heightened awareness of unequal health outcomes for Black people in the U.S., a new film by rapper and lyricist Terrell “Trizzy” Myles, in partnership with Gift of Life Marrow Registry, has launched to encourage others to join the fight against blood cancer and save lives.
The short film, “Blood is Thicker,” features an original poem and music by Myles, who was inspired to bring a message of hope and a resounding call to action that reminds us how one selfless act can positively change the outcome of a life, a family and an entire community.
This message gives voice to the mission that has driven Gift of Life’s work for the past 30 years: to ensure that every patient battling diseases like blood cancer, immunodeficiencies and sickle cell gets an equal opportunity to benefit from the treatment that can save their life. While a bone marrow or stem cell transplant gives the hope of a cure, only 25 percent of Black people can find a match, whereas 98 percent of White/Caucasians can find a lifesaving donor. Because the best chance of a match is with someone of the same genetic or ethnic heritage, the vast underrepresentation of Black people in the national and worldwide registries means many patients die needlessly. Yet, as Myles powerfully states in the video, people “…have the power to save a life with the simple swab of the cheek”, when they join the registry.
Directed by Gundeep Anand from global production partner The Mill and produced with the support of New York-based creative agency The Lucy Collective , “Blood is Thicker” was shot in and around Phoenix, Ariz., and showcases 21-year old Myles and his friends, along with a visually compelling montage of Black people in communities throughout America to represent the fact that ordinary people—fathers, mothers, sons and daughters—can have the extraordinary need for someone to offer the hope of second chance at life.
“As someone who has dealt with a genetic disorder that left me deaf in one ear, I see my life as a story of survival and hope,” said Myles. “My goal is to have an impact — through this film and in my music—and to remind others, especially young, Black people like me, that we have the power to make a difference.”
“Blood is Thicker” and its accompanying website are part of a larger initiative launched by Gift of Life to respond to disparities, not only in blood cancer, but also the broader issues that the pandemic has further exposed. The organization is working in partnership with the NAACP and its Youth and College Division to host a series of virtual town halls, “Education in Action: Addressing Healthcare Disparities in Our Communities,” to equip and empower student-led communities to advocate for social change. Featuring an esteemed panel of speakers—from the descendants of Henrietta Lacks to Karen Weaver, the former Mayor of Flint, Michigan—each of the events delve into the various barriers, reflective in other systems of care, that include mistrust of the healthcare system, lack of patient education, inadequate opportunities for economic, physical and emotional health and much more.
“The issues surrounding healthcare inequity are systemic and complex and need to be confronted with new, innovative solutions,” said Gift of Life CEO and Founder Jay Feinberg. “Now is the time to act and we’re excited to work with an extraordinary talent like Terrell and partners like the NAACP to educate communities on the issues and to others join in the fight”.
About Gift of Life Marrow Registry
Gift of Life Marrow Registry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. The organization, established in 1991, is dedicated to saving lives by facilitating bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related diseases. To learn more about Gift of Life Marrow Registry, visit www.giftoflife.org.
About Terrell “Trizzy” Myles
Terrell “Trizzy” Myles is a rapper and lyricist who wants to change the world through music and action. He grew up in a household filled with music and began rapping at an early age, despite having a genetic disorder that left him permanently deaf in one ear. By the seventh grade, he began to take music seriously and discovered he was prolific at writing songs. The 21-year old Arizona-based artist and Walmart associate is now a rising star who has gained acclaim for his inspiring journey and using his craft to spread messages of positivity and hope, most recently through music about the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice.
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