My nephew, Luc, is 12 years old. Like many 12 year olds, Luc loves tacos, gaming, and hanging out with friends. His favorite color is purple (at least on his hair, anyway), favorite Fortnite character is Lynx, and favorite subject is math. He's been an Honor Roll student every year.
Luc is the reason I joined Team Be The Match to raise money and increase the number of potential donors in the registry.
On Thursday, March 5th, 2020, I picked Luc up from school after he had gotten sick. I remember thinking he looked pale, though his complexion is quite fair anyway and knowing he had just been ill, I shrugged it off. My mother and Luc's grandmother, Milla, scheduled a visit to his PCP the following morning just to make sure everything was okay. Luc had been nauseated on an off for about a month, had some weight loss, and was sporadically short of breath.
What his PCP discovered would shift our existence. His Complete Blood Count concerned his doctor enough that she referred Luc immediately to the ER, where he was promptly seen and admitted. His symptoms and blood work pointed to leukemia; however, the bone marrow biopsy the following morning showed that the abnormal cells in his marrow were just shy of confirming that diagnosis. Eventually, after almost eight weeks of further testing, Luc was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Pediatric MDS is rare, affecting only 4 in 1,000,000. Bone marrow transplant is the only curative treatment.
I am already in the registry, after participating in a drive a few years ago. The process was amazingly simple and I want to encourage others to join as well. Be The Match is working hard to grow and diversify the registry, as the odds of finding a match are significantly lower for some ethnic backgrounds. Your registry participation could save a life and a financial donation can fund innovative research to improve transplant outcomes.
Thank you for your time, participation, and compassion.