By Sarah Han
Baylor Fredrickson is a seven-year-old, half Japanese, half German kid who lives is Albany, CA. He also has leukemia and needs a life-saving bone marrow transplant to help him win his battle against the disease. Getting a bone marrow transplant is tough enough for anyone, but it's even harder when you need a very specific donor (in this case, one who's half Asian, half Caucasian), one with the right match for you, and unfortunately none of Baylor's family members, including his sister Maddie, are able to donate their bone marrow to help him.
So, Baylor and his family are looking for help from other Asian bi-racial folks in the Bay Area. According to ABC Local, "of the 10 million bone marrow donors in the national registry, only about 400,000 are mixed race." Why does ethnicity matter? The Asian American Donor Program explains on its site that "because the markers used in matching are inherited, patients are more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity." And unfortunately, there is a small number of minority and bi-racial donors.
Becoming a donor is pretty easy – after filling out the prerequisite paperwork, a sample of your cheek cells will be taken using a q-tip; when you're a match, you'll be notified and then you'll take a blood test to make sure it's a perfect match. Then, the marrow collection happens in one of two ways; see this chart below to find out more.
If you're Asian, bi-racial, or anyone, and want to help Baylor and other people who need bone marrow transplants, there are four Bay Area marrow drives happening this weekend and next week in San Francisco and the East Bay:
Saturday, May 10
Albany High School (Outside Gymnasium, entrance on Thousand Oaks Blvd.)
603 Key Route Blvd., Albany
Sunday, May 11
Mother's Day Stroll
1540 March Banks Dr., Walnut Creek
Wednesday, May 14
UC Berkeley Shared Services Building (front entrance)
1608 Fourth Street, Berkeley
Saturday, May 17
11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Asian Heritage Street Celebration