MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A mother is urging people in the Mid-South to see if they are a bone marrow match for her son. The 7-year-old has sickle cell disease and a match means a cure.
Dakhiyon Howard loves dancing and basketball. His favorite player?
“Stephen Curry,” replied Dakhiyon, with a smile.
The second grader has sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder, which causes pain throughout his body.
“He’s a miracle,” said his mother Andrea Crumble. “A walking miracle. The things that he went through. I broke down inside. Sometimes it’s his legs he won’t walk, arms he won’t use his arms.”
So Dakhiyon and his mother make the two-hour drive from Union City to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“They treat me how my mom treats me,” said Dakhiyon. “They treat me like I’m their kid.”
Every three weeks he comes for transfusions.
“Once he gets that blood transfusion it’s like a spark of energy,” said Crumble. “He gets off that table a brand new person.”
They maintain his quality of life until he can get a bone marrow transplant.
“There’s a shortage on the registry of people of color,” said Crumble. “Your best match is within your own ethnic background.”
After a year of searching the national marrow registry, he has not found a donor.
Studies show black people, only have a 23% chance of finding a perfect match. That’s compared to a 77% chance for white patients.
“It’s very depressing to know that you have such little chance at life, and that’s why it was so important to push the message, like ‘hey we need y’all,’” shared Crumble.
The road hasn’t been easy for him. His little brother has sickle cell too but is responding well to treatments.
“He’ll see his brother hurting, and he’ll try to tell him ways to make it feel better. Even when I’m breaking down inside, they actually come together and lift each other up.”
Be the Match is working to find Dakhiyon a perfect match, at no transplant cost to the family.
They are working to build up their number of black people on its registered donor list to improve chances for patients.
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