A 10-year-old Austin boy is in need of a bone marrow transplant, but he has run into a major problem. No one has been able to find a donor.
Kethan Kumar was just 4 years old when he was first diagnosed with leukemia. He has gone through years of chemotherapy, and doctors say he now needs to find a bone marrow match.
None of the 20 million registered donors are a match, so the race is now on to register more donors.
"They'll just take 10 seconds to swab one cheek in a circular motion and then do the same on the other side,” donor recruiter Amy Roseman said. “it's a very quick process. It’s a commitment."
Roseman calls it a commitment because if you are a match, you could be the one to save a life.
"It's kind of like finding a needle in a haystack,” she said. “There are thousands of patients who are searching for their life-saving bone marrow donor every single day."
The challenge of finding a match is even more daunting for 10-year-old Kethan. The pool of minority donors is proportionally small.
"Kethan in particular is of South Asian descent and, unfortunately, only about 7 percent of the people in the database share his same ethnic background," the donor recruiter said.
Registration takes only minutes, but the results could mean the difference between life and death for someone else. Registering ensures you are available if someone with your match is ever in need.
"There are about 20 million different combinations of DNA makeup,” Roseman said. “We just never know when someone's genetic twin is going to be in need."
The more registered donors there are, the easier it is for patients like Kethan to find a match.
You can register to become a donor Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. at the Ronald McDonald house at Dell Children's Hospital.
Learn more about Kethan's story here.