Junior League of El Paso Is Holding Bone Marrow Drive This Weekend

POSTED: Friday, February 24, 2012 - 5:46pm

UPDATED: Friday, February 24, 2012 - 6:00pm

Giving up two minutes of your life could help someone else's. A bone marrow drive taking place this entire month aims to educate the public about the desperate need for Hispanic donors.

Alejandro "Alex" Cisneros, 7, has not let leukemia get him down. "If you come to see me in the hospital, you're not going to see me in bed," said Alex.

Alex has been in and out of the hospital since before he turned one year old. That's when he was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia. "It's a rare case of Leukemia. Just a few cases in the United States. And the only cure that we can find for that type of leukemia is a bone marrow transplant," said Yolanda Cisneros, Alex's mom.

Alex waited six years to find a bone marrow match. "First when you hear that your child needs a bone marrow transplant, the first thing you can say is, 'Take it from me.' But it's something that doesn't work," said Yolanda.

And that's why Alex, like so many people suffering from blood disorders, depend on a match from someone they've never met.

After his first bone marrow transplant, Alex's leukemia went into remission only to come back months later. "First I was playing and then I'm starting to cough and I'm like, 'I'm going to go lie down,'" said Alex.

Alex needs a transplant yet again. But the Junior League of El Paso is hoping Alex doesn't have to wait another six years like he did the first time. And that's why they're teaming up with "Be the Match", a non-profit worldwide organization that has a bone marrow match registry. "It's really hard to find a Hispanic to be a match. Roughly 10% of the registry is only made up of Hispanics," said Junior League member Claudia Ordaz.

The Junior League is holding the drive all over El Paso, not only to help Alex, but to help more than 50 others in the "Be the Match" registry who need a transplant. "Seeing that Hispanics are in hard demand, we thought having these drives through the entire month of February in El Paso is a prime place to have it considering that El Paso is predominantly Hispanic," said Claudia.

Alex showed us just how easy it is to find out if you're a match. "It's not that hard. It's not even going to hurt," said Alex.

You swab the inside of your mouth and send off the samples in a form your fill out.
And if you're picked to be a match, a transfusion can take care of transferring the bone marrow. "The way they've explain to us, when you knock yourself against a table, that's the most pain you're going to feel," said Claudia.

A pain that's nothing compared to what this seven-year-old has been through his whole life -- a life you can help save. "I want them to know that it's easy. I just want them to do it," said Alex.

For more information on "Be the Match" visit www.marrow.org or you can call the Junior League of El Paso at 584-3511.

These are the remainder dates and times for the "Be the Match" drive:

Date: 2/25/2012
Location: Get Lifted Gym
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
4617 Ripley El Paso, TX 79922

Date: 2/25/2012
Location: Ronald McDonald House
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
300 East California Avenue El Paso, TX 79902

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