The family of a young boy suffering from a rare illness hopes a bone marrow drive this Saturday in New York City will save his life.
Lloyd “LJ” Jones, age 10, suffers from hypereosinophilic syndrome, an extremely rare and deadly disease related to leukemia. The condition causes an excess of white blood cells to attack his organs. He’s the only child in the nation who has been diagnosed with the illness and he’s currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment. But he will need a bone marrow transplant to survive.
Attendees at Saturday’s event, set to take place from 11 am to 6 pm at the Times Square Arts Center at 669 42nd Street and 8th Avenue in New York, can get tested (through a swab) to find out if they would be a proper match for LJ. But there’s more to this bone marrow drive, as there will also be games, refreshments, live music acts as well as more information about hypereosinophilic syndrome.
While in the past, his story has been publicized on BET’s 106 & Park as well as other media outlets, LJ, hasn’t been able to find a match. His ethnic background—Native American, Hispanic and Black—definitely complicates things, since having multi-racial ancestry makes it harder to find a bone marrow match. And the fact that there aren’t many Blacks who have signed up to be donors in the first place makes matters worse.
But organizers of this weekend’s event hope to change things and raise awareness on the dire need for Black bone marrow donors. Most people in good health and who are over the age of 18 are eligible to give.
Visit the website for Preserve Our Legacy to learn more about what you can do to help LJ or others who need transplants.
(Photo: Courtesy of Brett Melius)