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A patient in need discovers a passion for kart racing

Twenty-year old Quinton O’Donnell was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2015. For the past few years, Quinton has participated in clinical trials and immunotherapy, which has kept him relatively healthy.

A driving motivation

Quinton is passionate about racing and believes it is the only gift his disease has given him. When he was first diagnosed, his wish through Make-A-Wish was to learn how to race cars. He attended the Bondurant Racing School and is now racing in the Skusa Pro Tour karting series. Quinton has attended many races and hopes to get behind the wheel of a sports race car one day.

At the 2019 Be The Match New York Gala, Quinton met Robert Masson, MD. Dr. Masson is a neurosurgeon who was recently selected by Be The Match® as its lead investigator to innovate the traditional process of blood stem cell collection. Dr. Masson also has a love of racing and has a team, Performance Tech Motorsports. He has a personal connection to cancer and uses his racing platform to highlight how everyone can support Be The Match.

Quinton and Dr. Masson quickly bonded over their interest in racing and the two have kept in touch since the gala.

This past May, Dr. Masson invited Quinton to the Mid-Ohio Sports Race. Quinton was excited to watch an International Motor Sports Association race and even had the honor of giving the start command. At the race, Quinton and Dr. Masson’s son, Kyle, were able to bring awareness to Be The Match by reaching out to fans and asking them to consider joining the registry.

Moving forward with transplant

Quinton does not have a matching donor on the Be The Match Registry®, but his need for a transplant has become so urgent. He and his family, along with his doctors, have made the decision for him to receive a haploidentical transplant from his cousin this fall. While recent outcomes of haploidentical transplants are promising, many transplant doctors prefer a fully matched adult donor over a haploidentical donor.

Giving hope to patients

Quinton continues to advocate for Be The Match because he has personally experienced the pain and fear that a patient and their family go through when unable to find a donor. He hosted his first donor recruitment drive in 2017, with his mother, and recruited more than 90 people to the registry. As Quinton prepares for transplant, he continues to raise awareness for Be The Match in hopes of finding a match for every searching patient. Learn how you can help.