To learn more about Joe Leone and follow his treatment, go to: www.joeysjourney-thebattleagainstaplasticanemia.orgTwo bone marrow drives have been scheduled for Joe Leone:
Sunday, January 9th
St. Stephen Deacon and Martyr Catholic Church
17500 S. 84th Ave
Tinley Park, IL
7:30 am - 1:00 pm
Friday, January 14th
Summit Hill Jr. High
7260 W North Ave
3:30 - 8:30 pm
**at this drive people can donate blood, too
To join the national bone marrow registry, go to:http://www.marrow.org/JOIN/Join_Now/join_now.html
Be the match! How a simple cheek swab may help save a life.
Joe Leone, 13 year old boy, football player. Full of life. Then, Thanksgiving Day.
Joe Leone: "I was just tired, and I just didn't feel my normal self."
Within three days, Joe had a rash, a bloody nose and ended up in the hospital. The diagnosis ... aplastic anemia.
Joe Leone: "I didn't know what it was at first, but I knew the doctors face and I knew it wasn't good."
And it's been getting worse.
Shannon Gutierrez, Joe's Mother: "Joey's blood counts have actually continued to drop. They really think it might be the result of a viral infection. He's been in three weeks this time, and there's really no end in sight when he can come home."
Aplastic anemia kills, quickly. Joe's bone marrow is not replenishing his blood cells. He is low on red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. He desperately needs a bone marrow transplant. But of the 13 million people on a registry here in the U.S. and worldwide, there is no match.
Shannon Gutierrez: "You just need one person, and it really is ... it's like finding a needle in a haystack."
And a needle stick is all it takes to donate. A newer harvesting procedure allows stem cells to be taken from blood.
Julie Contreras, Be the Match Representative, Life Source: "Your stem cells would be extracted from the blood, and your red blood cells would go back into you, so you are never losing anything."
This man knows the value -- joining "Be the Match" at the LifeSource office in the Thompson Center.
Julie Contreras: "Rub inside the cheek tissue for 10 seconds."
That's all it takes to check for a match with Joe Leone. If not he'll go into the registry.
Joe Leonoe: "If I would get a bone marrow donator, then I could go back to playing football and hanging with my friends. I miss everybody. Honestly, I am starting to miss school now."
Joe's family members have all been tested. No one is a match. For 70% of patients, that's the case. So they will now volunteer to try to help others, and are hoping someone else will help Joe.
Shannon Gutierrez: "This is definitely a mission. It's our family's mission. Really, not just for Joey. It's like our eyes have just been opened about this incredible need out there and actually how simple it is to just be tested and be able to donate."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun