Matthew Medina is so sick he is unable to enjoy the physical affection of his own family.
“Just being diagnosed with such a debilitating illness, I think, would be a low for anyone,” said the Los Angeles police officer and father of two. “As far as day to day life goes, not being able to hug and kiss my daughters and wife, due to my weakened immune system, tops the list. Not being able to live life normally and to be sheltered at home, for the most part, takes a toll.”
The seven-year veteran and Filipino American is in need of a bone marrow donor due to a blood disorder called Aplastic Anemia. One day he noticed what he thought was a rash caused by some allergic reaction. That reddish/purplish spot on his skin turned out to be something called petechiae. It’s caused by a localized hemorrhage. His platelet lever had dropped to 4. 150 is a normal range. A bone marrow biopsy confirmed he was seriously ill.
He is currently on leave from the force. His wife and family are trying to remain strong. His 8-year-old daughter even drew a poster which has been printed and distributed to publicize his need for a bone marrow donor.
If you’re a regular reader of AsAmNews, you know there is a shortage of bone marrow donors among the Asian American community, but perhaps you didn’t know just how bad the need really is.
“There are nearly 76,000 Filipino potential marrow donors on the Be The Match Registry,” said Caroline Gould of the Be the Match Registry to AsAmNews. “This group makes up only 0.5% of the total registry, which is why Be The Match is urgently encouraging more people of Asian and Filipino heritage to join as potential marrow donors.”
“My wife is staying strong and is handling this very well, She is supportive and has been helping out at most with the bone marrow drives that have been planned.”
His four-year-old understands her dad is sick, but little more than that.
“Overall, more awareness is needed about the opportunity to save a life,” said Gould. “Some people don’t join the Be The Match Registry because they have a misunderstanding about how painful the process is. There are actually two ways to donate marrow. One is collected from the back of your hip and the other is collected from blood from your arm. When you donate marrow, you are under general anesthesia and feel no pain during the procedure. Most donors say they would do it again to save a life.”
It’s easy to qualify. You can learn more at Be the Match. Matthew and his family are counting on it.
“Since the start of all the marrow drives, we’ve received nothing but support and love from family, friends and from the community. It has given us strength and faith to stay positive and push forward through this difficult time. It’s amazing to see how this has brought everyone together and the awareness this has brought to the public and the Asian-American/Filipino community. I am grateful that there are still people out there that are willing to help out someone they don’t even know, said Medina.
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