Get swabbed. Be a match. Save a life. | Bone-marrow drive Nov. 17

Meet Kia Bowman Momtazi. She’s a life-loving, all-around awesome Persian-American gal who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. Did you know approximately 130,000 people are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases like lymphoma and other cancers and it’s  estimated that at least 12,000 of these patients will not be cured without a bone-marrow transplant?
That’s partly because the best chances of finding a bone-marrow match come from people with similar ethnic backgrounds. Only about three percent of people currently in the Be the Match National Bone Marrow Registry ( are mixed-race like Kia.

In an effort to grow that number and help people like Kia more easily find the lifesaving bone marrow they need, we invite you to join us from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at Tiger!Tiger! (3025 El Cajon Blvd., North Park). Part of the proceeds will benefit Be the Match and raffle-ticket sales will help buy Kia a new banjo (she’s taught herself how to play while strapped to the chemo bags).

Get swabbed. Be a match. Save a life.

Read more about Kia:

Read more about Be the Match:


Kia needs a bone-marrow transplant

Kia Bowman-Momtazi

“Then I’m sitting through the longest haircut of my life, and I’m bluffing through all those generic conversations you have to have with people who cut your hair and clean your teeth and such. She’s asking where I live and what I do, and she heard I was getting married and when was that happening? And the whole time I’m describing the life that was my life yesterday, but is no longer my life today, or tomorrow, or any day I can yet foresee.”

—Kia Momtazi

One of the first staffers I met when I began writing for CityBeat nearly five years ago was my friend Kia. Vibrant, smart, gorgeous and unselfconsciously hip, she reminded me of a much more vibrant, smart, gorgeous and unselfconsciously hip version of my 23-year-old self (and, P.S., exactly zero of those adjectives applied to me in the first place). In other words, she was worlds ahead of who I was—and damned near close to who I wish I’d been—in my 20s. I was drawn to her for many reasons, but if I had to sum it all up, I’d say it was her humble magnetism. She was living a take-no-prisoners life while I felt, at the time, like a prisoner in my own. I liked living vicariously as I watched her do what I wish I’d been brave enough to do at her age. On a scale of one to 10, she is an eleventeen.

Shortly after I’d gotten to know her, Kia left San Diego for a grand adventure of self-discovery. When she described her itinerary to me before leaving, I immediately thought of Eat, Pray, Love, only more interesting and without self-pity. It’s too bad she didn’t have a book deal, since the woman can write like a mo-fo. After going north, and then south, she eventually went east and built a life in a place more prone to equality than our Golden State. Kia fell in love and planned to get married.

Kia is wise beyond her years—as they say, an old soul. She is beautiful, warm, funny, kind, creative, insightful and smart.

Click here to keep reading Aaryn Belfer’s story about Kia published in CityBeat.