National Marrow Donor Program sees 'incredible response' following ABC13's story

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On Wednesday, ABC13 profiled Diego, a 15 year-old in The Woodlands who is battling leukemia. The teen is in critical need of a blood/bone marrow donor to help save his life.

As his family hosts a donor drive Saturday in search of a match, it spotlights the desperate need for registered donors of Hispanic/Latin descent. There is currently no match in the National Marrow Donor Registry for Diego.

One's ethnicity plays a major role in matching, and currently, only 13% of Be The Match's registry are donors of Hispanic or Latin descent.

Following the airing of ABC13's story, Erica Sevilla with the National Marrow Donor Program said 200 people joined the registry. Of those 200, 173 were diverse donors.

"An absolutely incredible response," Sevilla says.

People between the ages of 18 to 40 are encouraged to come to the South County Community Center Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and swab their cheeks for 10 seconds and insert their own sample into an envelope. The sample will then be entered into the national/international marrow donor registry and tested to see if it can be used in a transplant and help save a life.

If you're unable to attend the donor drive for Diego in person, you can text the name "DIEGO" to 61474, fill out the information form and have a swab kit mailed to your home.

You can also register at the Be The Match website.

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