Within 12 hours, a local 9-year-old boy went from starting his school day with his annual pediatric check-up to being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia by bedtime. Doctors have confirmed that the only cure for Harrison, a third-grader at Parish Episcopal School, is a bone marrow transplant.
Without a matching donor in his family, Harrison must rely on finding a complete stranger to be his lifesaving donor. Team Harrison has partnered with nonprofit DKMS to host drives nationwide in the hopes of finding a donor. Anyone in good health between the ages of 18-55 is encouraged to attend and register.
“The simple swab of a cheek is the first step to start Harrison on his road to recovery,” a DKMS spokesperson said.
Since his diagnosis, Harrison’s life is forever changed. Instead of spending his days with his third-grade class learning multiplication or on the ice with his hockey team; he is fighting for his life in the hospital with chemotherapy treatments, dozens of medications and the search for a matching donor.
Harrison’s school, Parish Episcopal School, held a previous bone marrow donor drive in 2011 for a student which generated 1,018 new potential donors, resulting in three people who have gone through the collection process to provide second chances at life for patients in need. Every year more than 20,000 patients in the U.S. will require a stem cell transplant, nearly 70 percent will have to rely on finding a perfect stranger as a compatible donor.
Parish is hosting a drive on Sunday, Jan. 12, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its location at 4101 Sigma Road.
“We are grateful to the community for supporting this drive and providing hope for a second chance for those with blood cancers,” his mother in a statement. “Kids are tough but so is cancer. We are grateful for the support of our community and hope to find lots of donors for second chances at the drive.”