A 14-year-old girl from the North Country is still searching for a bone marrow match that could save her life.
Alyson Stiles was first diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia as a toddler. She has been in and out of the hospital for years. Her cancer has gone into remission twice since her original diagnosis. Last fall, she learned the cancer came back. She is currently being treated at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital.
CNYCentral first profiled Alyson in March while she was staying at the CNY Ronald McDonald House.
This Saturday, March 29, a bone marrow registration drive will be held in honor of Alyson, hoping to find a match for her and others who need a bone marrow transplant.
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation and Be The Match will team up with the Nedrow Fire Department, Onondaga Nation Fire Department and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York for the bone marrow drive. It will be held at the Nedrow Fire Department at 6505 S. Salina Street in Nedrow from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Alyson is among the thousands of people in the U.S. waiting for a life saving match. More than 70 percent of patients that are diagnosed with life-threatening blood diseases will not find donors within their own families.
What makes Alyson's search for a match even more challenging is her American Indian heritage. Because the markers used in matching are inherited, patients are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity. Of the 10 million people signed up for the Be The Match registry, only 1 percent are Native American or American Indian. Adding diversity to the registry will increase the likelihood that all patients will be able to find the life-saving match that they need.
Joining the registry is quick and easy. To be eligible, you must be between the ages of 18 and 44, be in general good health and be willing to donate to any patient in need. To register at the event, you can fill out an application and have your cheek swabbed.