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Search for bone marrow donors for baby Sophia

May 17, 2010 3:30:09 PM PDT
Sophia Lopez is only 6 months old, and she's fighting for her life. Sophia desperately needs a bone marrow transplant, and her only hope is to find a matching donor.

Her big brothers Brandon and Nicolas are on the front lines, putting together a YouTube video, with their parents' help, to get people to become bone marrow donors.

In the YouTube video the brothers say, "I want to protect my baby sister and keep her safe, but I can't do this by myself because Sophia's very sick and needs a bone marrow transplant."

In early January, when Sophia was just 10 weeks old, she was diagnosed with HLH, a life-threatening blood disease.

Doctors determined that in order for Sophia to survive, she needed a transplant from a matching donor.

Shortly after Sophia's first round of chemotherapy, she went into remission.

Her parents thought that was good news so they planned her baptism, but then she got sick again and has been in the hospital ever since.

"Her case is one in a million. At 10 weeks she didn't have a chance," Michael Lopez, Sophia's father said, "Without a bone marrow transplant she basically doesn't have a chance to survive."

Sophia's story is much like Jasmina Anema's.

The spunky 6-year-old Eyewitness News first introduced you to last January, was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Sadly, Jasmina lost her battle with Leukemia, but not before touching many lives.

She touched so many lives, that thousands of people registered and donated to DKMS in Jasmina's name.

Sophia's case is similar to Jasmina's because the infant is of Puerto Rican descent.

Neither of her siblings were an ideal match.

Latinos make up just 10% of the National Bone Marrow Registry, making it more difficult to find a match.

"It's sad that it has to come to a situation like this for Latinos to come out. That's why we're reaching out to our Latino community to come and help," said Sophia's mother, Denise Lopez.

"There's a huge misconception that being a donor is scaring, and intimidating, the process is not that complicated. When you look at the opportunity to save someone's life a few hours of discomfort is not that much," said Alina Suprunova, of DKMS Donor Recruitment.

Sophia's donor drive is Saturday May 22nd, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at P.S. 71 in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx.

For more information on DKMS or how to register to become a bone marrow donor visit www.dkmsamericas.org.


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