7-Year-Old Boy Needs a Stranger to Step Forward and Be a Marrow Match to Save His Life

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AMatchForBay 

Alameda, CA –  Baylor Nihei Fredrickson, a 7-year-old boy who lives in Albany, CA, is going through what few of us can even imagine.  In February 2012, Baylor or “Bay,” as his family and classmates call him, was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).  Bay was able to obtain remission after several rounds of chemotherapy.  Unfortunately, Bay has relapsed.

Bay is of mixed heritage – Japanese and German.  A marrow transplant is Bay’s only hope for his long-term survival. A marrow matching donor must be located before any transplant takes place.

Baylor’s greatest chance of finding a marrow donor is from someone who is also part Asian and Caucasian.  Unfortunately, no one from his immediate family is a marrow match.

AML is a disease of the bone marrow that is characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that interfere with the production of normal blood cells.  These abnormal cells crowd out the normal red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets the body needs.

Those who are not Caucasians are more likely to die of leukemia or of other blood cancers.  This is because there is a shortage of ethnic donors on the national Registry.

What’s the Solution?

Encouraging more people of  mixed heritage especially Asian and Caucasian heritage to join the Registry and potentially save a life.  Each of us can “Be The One to Save a Life!”  The Asian American Donor Program (AADP, www.aadp.org) is a 24-year-old nonprofit organization, based in Alameda, CA, that works to educate community members about the shortage of ethnic marrow donors and the importance of joining the registry. It is the oldest nonprofit of its kind in the country.

According to Carol Gillespie, the AADP executive director, there is a shortage of non-Caucasians on the Be The Match® national registry. “We need everyone of mixed race ancestry to step forward and join the marrow registry,” Gillespie says. ”When a marrow match is not readily available, patients have to wait longer than is ideal to find a match.” When a patient must wait, their body becomes weak and may reject a transplant, once a marrow match is found.

More about Baylor Nihei Fredrickson

The youngest of two siblings, Bay loves to play basketball.  He plays the center or forward position on an East Bay basketball league.  Bay played basketball two weeks ago, just before he relapsed. He loves math, Greek Mythology and watching children’s comedies.  His favorite movies are Meatballs and Percy Jackson. The one thing that he cannot stand is the taste and smell of fish.  He is full of life and positive energy.

Shortage of Ethnic/Multi-Ethnic Donors—What’s the solution?

The Be The Match® registry recruits hundreds of thousands of donors each year through an extensive network of more than 100 local and regional recruitment organizations. All of these organizations recruit for the national Be The Match® registry and each person only needs to join once.

A marrow/stem cell transplant may be the only chance for patients with leukemia or other blood cancers to survive. Those who are not Caucasians are more likely to die of these illnesses.  This is because there is a shortage of multi-ethnic donors on the Be The Match Registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP). Only 30% of the time can a searching patient find a match from one of his or her siblings.

“Finding a marrow/stem cell match can be like finding a needle in a haystack,” says Carol Gillespie, AADP executive director.  “Patients need a marrow/stem cell transplant as soon as possible. Saving lives is what we’re about.  People of all ethnicities are encouraged to join the Be The Match registry. You could potentially match anyone in the world, this is truly a global effort.”

When a donor that is a close enough match cannot be found, a patient’s health can decline. That waiting period can make things harder, because a weakened immune system is more likely to reject a transplant once a donor is found.

Marrow/stem cell matches are very different than blood type matches. Just as we inherit our eyes, hair and skin color, we inherit our marrow and stem cell tissue type.

“Those whose marrow/stem cells are not a match for a patient in need now may be a match for someone else down the road,” Gillespie says.  “Registering to be a marrow/stem cell donor is simple.”

How You Can Help

•  Go to an upcoming drives and do a cheek swab to join the “Be the Match” national registry

•  Find out about other drives that you can attend or have a home kit mailed to you.

Go to http://www.aadp.org/

•  Contact friends and family and encourage them to go to a registration drive or register using a home kit.

•  Set up a drive in your area by calling AADP at 1-800-593-6667

•  Volunteer to help at registration drives or in the AADP office.

 

Upcoming Marrow Drives

 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

12 noon to 2pm

UC Berkeley Shared Services

1608 Fourth St., Berkeley, CA  94710

 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

5pm to 7pm

SF Giants Game – 2 locations

Location 1:  Seals Plaza

Location 2:  Lefty O’Doul Plaza

San Francisco Giants Stadium

24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA  94107

 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

10am to 2pm

Ruby Bridges Elementary School

351 Jack London Ave., Alameda, CA  94501

 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

11am to 4pm

Hill Physicians Asian Heritage Street Celebration

Booth D 18 at Health Pavilion

Larkin/McAllister Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

11am to 2pm

Cupertino Village Ranch 99 Market

10869 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino, CA  95014

Drive will be located at the front entrance of Ranch 99 Market

 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

6pm to 9pm

Monte Vista High School

21840 McClellan Rd., Cupertino, CA  95014

 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Noon to 4pm

Berkeley Sangha Church Bazaar

2121 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA  94710

For information and to learn about additional marrow drives, call the Asian American Donor Program staff at 1-800-593-6667 or visit http://www.aadp.org/

 

Please take a few minutes of your time to learn more how you can help save a life and register as a marrow donor.

 

 

 

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