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9-year-old Alfredo’s only hope is a matching donor

Journalist Answers the Call

ABC News reporter Armando Garcia recently answered the call to donate marrow to a patient battling leukemia. When Armando learned that less than half of all Hispanic or Latino patients find a match on the Be The Match Registry, he used his reporting skills to share more about why ethnicity matters. The resulting news coverage follows his journey from donation at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., to Minneapolis to meet with a bioinformatics scientist from Be The Match, to Chicago where he met a young Latino boy who does not have a matching donor.

Nine-year-old Alfredo has struggled with health issues since birth. He spent the first three years of his life in and out of the hospital while doctors tried to determine what was causing his failure to thrive and major gastro-intestinal issues. He was finally diagnosed with IL-10 Receptor Deficiency, a genetic disorder so rare that there are less than 100 cases in the United States. Alfredo’s only hope for a cure is a blood stem cell transplant from a matching donor.

Living in pain

Alfredo’s immune system is working overtime attacking his body—even his healthy organs and cells. He is on immunosuppressive medication to try to help. Even with medications, Alfredo struggles with quality-of-life issues and requires an ostomy bag and nutrition from a feeding tube administered each night. He gets hospitalized regularly due to infections. All of this could go away with a blood stem cell transplant, but he doesn’t have a donor match. Matching is based on DNA and heritage, so Alfredo is more likely to match with someone who shares his Mexican ancestry. Unfortunately, only 48% of Hispanic and Latino patients find a matching donor on the registry because there aren’t enough Hispanic and Latino donors registered.

Fighting spirit

Despite all his suffering, Alfredo’s spirit makes him a true miracle. He dreams of becoming a basketball player or following in the footsteps of one of his favorite WWE wrestlers. You could make those dream possible–it only takes one person to cure Alfredo. Could it be you? Join today.