Only 7% of the national bone marrow registry members are Latinx—and this boy spent his seventh birthday trying to change that.
Alfredo Diaz has IL-10 receptor deficiency, a rare, treatment-resistant inflammatory bowel disease. Because of his dependence on a feeding tube and steroids, he currently weighs 45 pounds and is the height of an average three-year-old.
Nicknamed “Alfry the Warrior,” he needs a blood stem cell transplant. Stem cell marrow recipients have a better chance of finding a match with someone of the same ethnicity who inherits similar tissue types, but the likelihood of Latinx people finding adult donors on the Be the Match registry is only around 46%.
To tackle the shortage of Latinx donors, Alfry wanted to add 700 people to the registry before his birthday. He even enlisted his favorite WWE wrestler Titus O’Neil. Interested donors simply need to register online, fill out a list of medical questions, and send in a cheek swab.
Alfry celebrated his birthday on August 18, and was short of his goal. Be the Match estimates that 100 people have signed up for him—600 short of the birthday campaign goal. While his birthday has passed, the campaign is still ongoing. They are particularly hoping for Latin donors ages 18-44.