Gaelic Athletic Association of Greater New York Teams have announced that it will have a table set up at the hurling semi-final event, at Gaelic Park, to help find a bone marrow match for an Irish American child suffering from a rare blood disorder.
On Sunday, 26th August, from 1pm, a table will be set up allowing Irish and Irish Americans to swab the inside of their mouths to test whether their bone marrow could save this young boy’s life.
Six-year-old Jake Larkin suffers from aplastic anemia, a rare disorder which as cause his bone marrow to fail, which means it does not make enough blood cells. The best hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant.
Bob Larkin, Jake’s father said “We’re up against the clock. We are asking everyone, especially those of Irish descent, to consider being a bone marrow donor and do a simple cheek swab test to see if they are Jake’s match.”
According to Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide there are more than 20 million potential bone marrow donors, yet so far none are a “10 out of 10” or perfect match for Jake. Be the Match National Marrow Donor Program indicates that patients are more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity. Finding a close match is important as the body is more likely to accept the donated bone marrow.
Since his diagnosis in February, Jake has been on an immunosuppressant drug therapy regimen and receives weekly blood transfusions to make up for the blood his bone marrow is not producing. He and his family relocated to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in June so he could be treated by one of the nation’s top aplastic anemia specialists. The next step in his treatment is a bone marrow transplant and the family has been searching worldwide for this match, especially in the US and Ireland.
Testing to see if you are a match is quick and painless – a simple cheek swab. Donors must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and meet medical guidelines. Though it costs the marrow bank about $100 to process each test, donors pays nothing and it takes just a few minutes to do the swab and be registered. Once the test results are processed, the potential donor’s marrow is registered in an international database and becomes available to any matching patient worldwide.
Every swab has the potential to help someone with a life threatening bone marrow or blood disease like aplastic anemia, leukemia, MDS, and Hodgkin disease.
To learn more about Jake, the process of bone marrow donation and severe aplastic anemia, you can visit his web site at www.matchjake.org.
You can also friend him on Facebook to keep up on his progress and to help share his story at www.facebook.com/matchjake.
Those that are not able to go to this Sunday’s event at Gaelic Park can also register to become a bone marrow donor online at: join.bethematch.org/matchjake.