A ten-year-old Filipino girl has inspired the bayanihan spirit in her town in Mesquite, Texas. Chenee Cayco, diagnosed with leukemia two years ago, was overwhelmed by the response of the community to help her find a bone marrow donor.
Leukemia is a type of cancer which affects the blood or bone marrow, and is characterized by an abnormal increase of white cells in the blood. About 10% of those diagnosed with leukemia are children.
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As finding a match has become such a challenge, a bone marrow drive was organized by the local church to help her find a suitable donor. Since Filipinos are an underrepresented minority in the bone marrow registry database - comprising only 6 percent - the task has become even more challenging. The likelihood of finding a match within the same racial and ethnic group is thus much lower.
Said her father, Eladio Cayco, “Our hope is to find the perfect match for her.”
Dr. Jonathan Enriquez, a cardiologist at Parkland Memorial Hospital, said, “The more people there are who register as donors, the greater chance she will have of finding a match.”
"I feel sick and weak," says Chenee, who then gave out a personal call for help: "If you would donate your bone marrow to me, I would be more than happy.”
Sources: • September 28, 2011. Joseph Pimentel. “Filipino girl in Texas seeks bone marrow donor” asianjournal.com • September 22, 2011. Shelly Slater. “10-year-old hopes for rare bone marrow donor” wfaa.com