Adelene Martinez was recently diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. She’s 18 months old and undergoing chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital in Madera. Martinez is waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
Nearly people signed up to be marrow donors at a special donor drive for Martinez held at Saint Augustine Church on Sunday in Lamont.
Trina Brajkovich of Be The Match, also known as the National Marrow Donor Program says every day nine thousand patients are searching for a marrow match and less than half of them find one.
"Who knows how many lives can be saved by the turnout from today," Brajkovich says. "It's a simple sign-up process that can go a long way."
The only requirement is that you have to be healthy and between the ages of 18 and 60. Brajkovich says Hispanics make up less than 10 percent of the registry. She says all it takes is a simple swab of the cheeks in four places and some brief paperwork to be entered in the system.
Martinez's father, Augustin Martinez, was in tears at the outpouring of support of people at the drive.
"We need help," he says. "It's been very difficult and a sad time for our family."
Martinez says he is thankful for all the people who registered to give his little girl chance to live a long life.
Many potential donors came after mass service at Saint Augustine.
"It's a good thing to do that could save my kids later on down the line and hopefully, it could save the little girl's life," says Erica Smeltzer, a marrow donor registrant.
If you would like to help, you can register at www.BeTheMatch.org or go to the Houchin Blood Bank at 5901 Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield.