Because of You…

We contributed a year’s worth of blood cancer research!

2011 LLS SF Woman of the Year, Rosemary Gong

And, I won the coveted title of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 2011 San Francisco Woman of the Year!

Together, we earned over $50,000 during the course of 10 weeks to advance medical research to treat, and ultimately – cure, blood cancer. Auntie Lao’s Fan Club couldn’t have done it without you.  The majority of our donations came in small bills from hard working, hard earning people with personal checking accounts and big hearts. Auntie Lao had not one corporate sponsor.
Auntie Lao’s Fan Club Core Team

But she had 11 benefactors who gave office supply gift cards, rolls of postage stamps, hand-knitted purple scarves, and checks for printing expenses and fortune cookies with Auntie Lao witticisms. This is what took our humble fan club across the finish line.

The Gong Village Clan partying at the Fairmont

We were purely a grassroots volunteer effort from the bottom up. So, ALL our elders are especially proud!

Rosemary & Mark, Leukemia Survivors


Mark Zafra took the 2011 LLS SF Man of the Year title by contributing over $105,000 for blood cancer research with 22 events in 10 weeks!

A steady hand from Dr. A.

Upon reflection, I must acknowledge Lisa Dunn,  UCSF Bone Marrow Transplant coordinator, who mentored and nominated me for the task. And always, affectionate kudos to Dr. Babis Andreadis, my personal hero who gave me new life.  

As a last note and in the spirit of late night TV, I’d like to leave you with: 

The Top 10 Things I Learned from the LLS Woman of the Year:

10. Realize early that more has to be done than picking up the change found off the sidewalk.  

9. Standing on the corner of SF’s 19th Avenue and manually waving a “Charity Book Sale” sign is a powerful guerrilla marketing tactic. Training with arm weights – 4 weeks prior is highly recommended.

8. Being compared to Dora the Explorer is a compliment. Smile and wave!

7. Say a prayer every time you double parked in front of 221 Main Street. Apply emergency flashers.  

6. Cutie patootie Chinese babies can be photographed in a high-chair up to two consecutive hours max. Be sure there’s something crispy, salty, sweet, and yummy to eat. Pack toys and red envelopes for backup.

5. Per Master Chef Martin Yan, the art of Chinese fundraising begins with a sharp cleaver and asking, “Hey Doc, where’s your wallet?”  

4. When in doubt, refer to Tom Klein’s (2010 LLS SF Man of the Year) personal weekly tip sheet.  

3. Never, never under-estimate the power of a written letter.

2. You can only go to the “Bank of Dad” – once. Once with Dad and once with Mom.

1. With the LLS Man & Woman of the Year, we’re all winners!  

2011 LLS San Francisco Man & Woman of the Year Candidates

Photos courtesy of Timothy D. Williamson.

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The Final Stretch – June 2 – “D” Day

It’s Week 10 and Auntie Lao’s Fan Club is coming through the final stretch.  Many thanks for hanging with us! We promise this is our very last plea for funds to help stop blood cancer. The winners of the Leukemia & Lymphoma San Francisco Man & Woman of the Year campaign will be announced at the Grand Finale on Sat. June 4 at the Fairmont Hotel.  And, I’ll be carrying all your well wishes in a very deep pocket.

A huge thanks to those who have generously donated. If you tend to be motivated by a deadline (like I am) the last date to contribute online is THIS THURSDAY, JUNE 2!

Auntie Lao’s Favorite Out-of-Print Recipe Card Collection:

This is also your last chance to earn Auntie Lao’s Favorite out-of-print village recipes. These old auntie recipes include how to make rice noodles from scratch, Chinese beef jerky and BBQ pork (cha siu) from scratch. Did you ever wonder what was in Bak Tong Go or Dou Fu Fa? There are recipe cards for such sweetness to be made, from scratch.

Beginning at the $200 donation level, you’ll earn one pack of recipe cards as a thank you gift. For every $100, you’ll earn another pack of cards up to a $500 donation where you’ll earn Auntie Lao’s entire recipe card collection that includes:

  1. Health-warming Soups
  2. Savory Snacks and Sweet Delicacies
  3. Satisfying Rice, Noodle and Vegetable side dishes
  4. Chinatown Main Course Specialties

Stay tuned for next week’s blog update with the final tally and results from this Auntie Lao’s Fan Club LLS endeavor. And, once again, thank you times three!!!

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Yan’s Cleaver Will Travel

Dr. Babis Andreadis, Rosemary Gong, and Martin Yan

If you’ve never seen Martin Yan in person, it deserves to be on your bucket list. International Culinary Master Chef Yan demonstrated all his mastery during Saturday’s Good Long Life Luncheon benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign supporting candidate Rosemary Gong. The moment the White Crane Lion Dancers opened the festivities, Chef Yan was found pounding out the rhythm on the big red drum and the room was lit with celebration.

After some intricate slicing and dicing, a humorous whole-body chicken massage, and then cutting it up in 18 seconds flat, Chef Yan prepared two stir-fry dishes and auctioned them off. The second dish was even split among two top bidders making double monies for the LLS cause. With Chef Yan, everybody wins.

The Master wields a mighty cleaver. When demonstrating how the Chinese ask for donations, the Chef approached UCSF oncologist, Babis Andreadis, MD, and flicked his cleaver a little too close for comfort.

“Hey doc, where’s your wallet?” Yan casually asked.

Andreadis patted his pockets and came up empty handed. Then the Chef eyed the black bag sitting next to him on the floor, and asked, “Well, how about in there?”

 And, the good doctor shuffled into his black bag to undercover a checkbook.

Yan then pulled out a crisp new $100 bill and suggested, “How about you matching me?”  The good doctor quickly scribbled as if writing a prescription that resulted in double money to advancing blood cancer research. Now, that’s double happiness.

The afternoon packed a huge punch for the cost of lunch money. Everyone went home with something – an auction item, a drawing prize, a 2-liter bottle of soda! And the satiated feeling that we contributed over $6,000 to supporting blood cancer research.

Thank you to everyone and especially to MASTER CHEF MARTIN YAN for opening up our hearts and spirit to give.

Chef Yan, you are the MASTER in more ways than one. And, Auntie Lao’s Fan Club is your fan club.

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Long Life, Happiness and Chef Martin Yan

We’re working fast and furiously on this Saturday’s May 7, Good Long Life Luncheon at San Francisco Chinatown’s Empress of China, featuring Master Chef Martin Yan.

Not only will we have lively entertainment by Chef Yan, there’ll be a 7-course luncheon, and lots of opportunity to collect and win some amazing prizes and auction items!

Here’s a sneak preview of some featured auction items and prizes that have been generously donated in the spirit to help advance blood cancer research!

  • Roundtrip tickets from Southwest Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific Airways gift basket
  • Personal tour of Bruce Lee Enterprises and photo opportunity with Shannon Lee
  • Kristi Yamaguchi autographed photo and autographed copy of newly released children’s book, Dream Big Little Pig
  • Anchor Brewing Company private tour and tasting party for 8 adults
  • Admission tickets and Catalog to Bali at the Asian Art Museum
  • Admission tickets to Beach Blanket Babylon
  • SF Giants tickets for the May 25 game with the Florida Marlins compliments of Recology
  • $100 gift certificates from Betelnut, Chef Chu’s and Tommy Toy’s
  • Gift packages from Caroline Chu, B Mori & Co, Paula Skene Designs, Nicolas Salon, and See’s Candy, and Yan Can Cook
  • Autographed books by authors Eric Gower of Breakaway Japanese Kitchen fame, Ellen Blonder of cookbooks, Every Grain of Rice and Dim Sum, and Paola Gianturco of Celebrating Women.

All for only $39.00. It’s the best deal in Chinatown!

Good news for those last minute stragglers! The Empress has agreed to accept lunch reservations up until Friday, 5/6, 12 noon by calling 415.673.7204. So, don’t delay – call today!

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Building Momentum

It’s week three and I’m feeling the love. The momentum and support for Auntie Lao’s Fan Club is beginning to build. At the close of week two, we reached 15% of our $100,000 goal. Thank you three times, donors! We’re still on a steep incline. But, we’ve 7 weeks to go and our big May 7th bash is coming soon.

Master Chef Martin Yan

Join us for our biggest event — the Good Long Life Luncheon featuring Master Chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook on Sat. May 7, 12 noon, at the Empress of China in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Chef Yan has hosted over 3,000 cooking shows that have been broadcast worldwide. With his culinary artistry, style, and flair, he has captured the admiration and hearts of millions. You won’t want to miss this very rare event that also benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s mission to advance blood cancer research.

The deadline for registering is Saturday, April 30.

Click here for tickets

You can either RSVP by calling 415.673.7204 or buying tickets online at EventBrite.

Don’t delay! Buy today!

Last week Auntie Lao’s Fan Club earned over $600 during our Poetry Night and Book & Media Garage Sale. Auntie’s Poetry Night at the Summit SF made us realize what a gift it is to be in the Mission and in the presence of some amazing writers and artists. A huge thank you to Emily Jern-Miller, D. W. Lichtenberg, Genny Lim, and Chun Yu, our poets for the evening.

That night we learned that both Emily and Genny lost close family members to leukemia. Blood cancer hits close to home. Lisa McNey, UCSF BMT (bone marrow transplant) nurse practitioner also shared her insights on working with blood cancer patients – the really sick ones. Lisa conducts stem cell transplants every week. With stem cell transplantation, adult survivorship has quadrupled. But, for kids under 20 years, leukemia is still the most deadly cancer. There’s work still to be done.

So, come out, come out, wherever you are…and help stop blood cancer by giving what you can today.

In the meantime, check us out at:

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Auntie Lao’s Stepping Up and Out

Auntie Lao's Fan Club Team - from left - Andy & Florence Mar, Bill Ham, Rosemary Gong, Jane Ham, Sonia & Joe Murray. Not pictured, Mitzi Ngim, Tom Donald and Joyce Yokomizo.

We’re off to an amazing start! An ENORMOUS thank you to our donors. You’ve made Auntie Lao’s Fan Club a star by giving so generously to stop blood cancer. I’m also touched by your words of inspiration on my LLS contribution page. Each and every one makes me gulp air.

You’ve come from two continents (North America and Asia). Wouldn’t it be amazing to get donations from every continent? Or, even every state? All my U.S. donations have come from California and New York. Do you know anyone outside these states? Would you tap them for me? The donations can be humble. We’re humble! But, wouldn’t it be neat to get a donation from every U.S. state? My apologies, I can’t help myself. The mission of stopping blood cancer keeps me thinking. 

Fantabulous news!  My campaign was matched $1,000 for being the candidate with the most individual donations two days after campaign launch! I call these “good match” Fridays. Fridays are when the LLS tabulates campaign activity and rewards are granted to qualifying campaigns. This Friday, Auntie Lao’s Fan Club received $500 in matched funds for being the top “woman” of the year candidate to receive the largest number of donors. Mark Zafra received $500 for having the largest number of donors on the other side of the fence. And, Monika Sola received $1,000 in matched funds for delivering the first corporate sponsorship. Congrats, Mark and Monika!

If anyone knows of any possible corporate sponsorships (offered at multiple levels from $2,500 – $25,000) for Auntie Lao’s Fan Club, she’d love such a match if you are a matchmaker. Feel free to send any such suggestions to me at To be honest, I’m not sure how my financial goal of $100,000 will be achieved without such sponsorships. We’re such a far, far dollar amount away. We’re not even 10% there yet. But, June 2, the last day for donations, is also far, far away. Right now, I just continue and in time, hope to build momentum.

This week, we’ll be stepping out with two events. These events are FREE so come out and join the fun.

  • Auntie Lao’s Poetry Night, Thurs. 4/14, The Summit SF, San Francisco at 7 p.m. – Hear an incredible line up of poets and writers who’ll be at the mic – Genny Lim, D.W. Lichtenberg, Chun Yu, Emily Jern-Miller and LLS Woman of the Year candidate, Rosemary Gong. Come out to SF’s new public workspace, The Summit SF. The Summit SF will be generously donating 10% of all tea sales to Auntie Lao’s Fan Club. So, let’s be teetotalers!


  • Auntie Lao’s Garage Book and Media Sale, Sat. 4/16, 2252 19th Ave. (bet. Santiago/Rivera, northbound), San Francisco from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  – For a $20 tax-deductible Leukemia & Lymphoma Society donation, take away 5 books, CDs or DVDs. This is generously sponsored by the families of Andy & Florence Mar and Bill & Jane Ham. 

And, this amazing news just in! San Francisco rocker, Phil Chen will be stepping on the stage with Static Sound on Friday, 5/13, at the Rock-it Room, San Francisco, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.  And, the band members of Static Sound will be donating their evening’s profits to Auntie Lao’s Fan Club to support blood cancer research! Thanks to Phil, Chadd, Paul and Stan. Come out and rock out!

All this activity makes Auntie so proud!

Psst! Have you seen what Auntie Lao has to say on YouTube? See it. Share it. Spread it around.

Thank you three times!

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Welcome to Rosemary’s Humble Home

Greetings! Auntie Lao’s Fan Club is now in full bloom. We’ve been busy planning and building an array of fun-filled events and activities to support my candidacy for The Leukemia & Lymphoma 2011 Woman of the Year.

I’m not your typical LLS Woman of the Year candidate. I’m a leukemia patient who underwent a stem cell transplant two years ago. It was a humbling experience. I applied everything our wise and wizened old Aunties from China taught us about being resourceful and purposeful in order to survive. It’s the stuff I suspect you learned too.

Hear and see what I learned from Auntie Lao in our very own PSA (public service announcement) compliments of a team of extremely talented and generous fan club members.  Thanks 3x to Tom, Brandon, Steve, Dan, Brandon M. and Matt!

In the next 10 weeks of the campaign, Auntie Lao’s Fan Club needs your help to meet our $100,000 goal. Give a tax-deductible donation to LLS to advance blood cancer research. Spread the word among your own fan club of friends and family. Come to our stellar events. Hear Genny Lim and other amazing poet -writers at The Summit SF on Thurs. April 14. Meet Martin Yan at the Empress of China on Sat. May 7. See the Events page for details. Make your Auntie proud!  Thank you three times for visiting today. Keep coming back.

Click here to donate now!

And, shoot me a note at

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