Houston family desperate to find bone marrow match for 7-year-old fighting cancer

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Lillian Yang loves to tell a good joke, and by looking at her big smile, you would never know the 7-year-old is fighting for her life.

"Why are fish so smart? Because they live in school," she joked.

"She is very happy, always telling jokes to all the nurses. She's probably the most popular patient on the floor," said Siyang Yang, Lillian's dad.

Last year little Lillian was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Her older brother Jerry was diagnosed with the same cancer when he was just 3 years old. Her dad said a genetic test revealed they have a genetic predisposition to such rare Leukemia.

"It's like you got struck by lightning twice and you thought you'd get used to it, but no. The second time, the pain just doubles," he explained.

The best chance for a cure is to have a bone marrow transplant. Lillian's brother was lucky to find one, but she hasn't. Now the family is working with DKMS, an international nonprofit that provides a registry and connects donors with help in the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders.

You can save lives, like Lillian's, with a simple free test.

"A kit comes in the mail with an envelope. All you do is swab the insides of your cheeks, you put it back in a postage paid envelope, you send it back and you're put into a database where you are a hero and waiting for any patient who is searching for matching donor," said Amy Roseman with DKMS.

Lillian had a match last year in China, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic they have been unable to get the transfusion. She's had four cycles of chemo, and now the family is hoping and praying for a miracle and that miracle could be you.

"It's important. You can be a hero. One in every 400 potential donors will actually go on and donate and save one person," added Siyang.

"It's really hard to find a matching donor but each one of us has that genetic twin out there who is unrelated, which is crazy. So hopefully Lillian's genetic twin is out there and sees this story," said Roseman.

If you would like to help Lillian and others in need, register on DKMS' website.

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