WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - In less time than it takes to brush your teeth, you could be a life saver. A simple swab of your cheek and you might be a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant.
Would you consider it if you could possibly save a child's life? If so, you'll have your chance Saturday.
There's been something missing from High Point Elementary School over that past months. It's fifth-grader Destiny Miller, who's been too sick to attend school. She spends her days with her grandmother and little sister while her mom works and goes to school.
"You can't see anybody your age or anything. Only the teacher comes and gives you work and everything, then she leaves and that's how it goes," Destiny says.
Destiny has aplastic anemia. Her family found out about it three years ago when she was only seven. "She started having severe nosebleeds that were hard to stop and a lot of bruising in strange areas other than just typical children's bruises," her mother Chandra Gilbert said.
Destiny's bone marrow does not produce any types of cells -- red, white or platelets. Initial treatments looked promising, but last December her symptoms came back.
"It acts similar to leukemia. It has relapses, it just doesn't have cancer cells," mom Chandra says.
Now the only way to get better is with a bone marrow transplant. All they need is a matching donor.
An event is planned to help find one Saturday at Wallace Middle School gym from noon to 4 p.m. You could be that match, or a match for someone else.
The struggle with her condition has been tough for the entire family. "This event that they're having could save my grandchild's life, it could really save her life or someone else's," grandmother Glenda Stoots said.
And this unselfish family knows that there will be no chance for anyone finding a donor unless more people register to be someone's match.
You only need to be between the ages of 18 and 44, be willing to donate to any patient in need, and meet the health guidelines. Wallace Middle School is near Exit 7 on I-81 in Bristol, Virginia.
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