Volunteering with AADP greatly benefits patients in need of a match. In turn, working with patients touches the lives of volunteers. To highlight this, we are starting a series of volunteer stories, Vision of A Volunteer, where our hardworking helpers have a chance to share how volunteering with AADP has impacted them.
At age 7, Baylor (Bay) was a vibrant silly 3rd grader. Being two years in remission for AML leukemia he had his whole life ahead of him. During routine follow-up blood tests they revealed his cancer was back. The only thing that could save him was a bone marrow/stem cell transplant. However being of mixed-race our family knew finding a match was not going to be easy. His best bet for a match would come from his sister. Unfortunately, tests revealed she was not a match and there were no matches on the registry that were close enough.
Because there is such a small percentage of mixed-race donors on the Be the Match Registry, we had our work cut out for us. Not knowing where to turn a friend told me about AADP and Ruby Law. AADP and their whole staff were there to answer questions and provided us with hope when no one else could.
Unfortunately, a match was not found at the given time, but Bay was able to receive a haploidentical stem cell transplant (where a parent is a donor). Since this type of transplant is not ideal and because the HLA markers are only a 50% match, many complications and a longer recovery time are expected. However, we will always be grateful to our AADP family and dedicated to raising awareness along with raising the numbers of minority donors. You can still find us at some donor drives and hopefully one day Bay will be there to give back and help other’s find their match.