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Someone like you: Rhyder’s story | Be The Match

Searching patient, Rhyder

Rhyder is 6-year-old who loves school, hanging out with his brother Rhaiden and playing at the beach in his hometown of Waipahu, Hawaii. Rhyder was born with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). It’s a rare disease that causes the immune system to go into overdrive—white blood cells begin to build up and attack vital organs and systems throughout the body. Rhyder takes daily medication and has an infusion every 8 weeks to manage his disease. However, he will need a blood stem cell transplant to have a chance at curing his HLH.

Rhyder’s form of HLH is genetic. Luckily, his older brother Rhaiden who also had the disease, was able to receive a life-saving blood stem cell transplant through Be The Match® after finding a match on the Be The Match Registry®.

Jason Momoa supporting searching patient, Rhyder

Searching patient, Rhyder and his family

Now faced with another child with HLH, there was a long road ahead for the family. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital put a treatment plan in place for Rhyder and for the first few years of his life, Rhyder had no HLH flare ups. However, at 4-years-old, symptoms of the debilitating disease began to show.

"It's hard to keep it together but I have to do it for my kids. I have to show them I'm strong and we just got to go through it," Iza told KITV4. "It's very heartbreaking to see your son suffer though all of this and you can't do anything about it."

Jason Momoa supporting searching patient, Rhyder

Jason Momoa supporting searching patient, Rhyder

Rhyder is currently searching for a match for the blood stem cell transplant he needs to have any chance at a cure. Hundreds turned out, including Aquaman star Jason Momoa at Brigham Young University-Hawaii (BYU) for a donor registry drive. As an advocate for Be The Match, Jason continues to raise awareness about the need for blood stem cell donors, urging people to step up and save a life.

"I get emotional when I think about it. If it's my kids or your kids ... it doesn't take much. You just got to swab a cheek, and you can save some lives," Jason said during his speech at BYU-Hawaii.

Rhyder needs someone like you to step up and join the registry. Give hope back to a young boy tackling a life-threatening blood disease. All it takes is a simple cheek swab to find out if you could be a match for Rhyder.