It was only days after Christmas passed when the family of a 1-year-old named Jack got the heartbreaking news. The baby boy had been diagnosed with Leukemia.
Jack’s family quickly sprang into action, holding drives to see if anyone could help the baby with a bone marrow transplant. His family quickly learned that finding a match was not going to be easy.
“This is the toughest thing I’ve been through in my life,” said Jack’s grandma, Cindy Konkel.
Of the more than eight million listed donors, only 750,00 are Latino, according to national donor program Be a Match. For mixed ethnicities like Jack, the odds for finding a match are even worse.
“We just need more people of mixed ethnicities to swab for Jack and everybody else,” said Tom Konkel, Jack’s grandfather.
Enter a group of Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and members of Cops 4 Causes who have been testing to see if they are a match for ethnically mixed patients in need.
“For us we’re actually hoping to be able to find more of those matches, especially for folks in our Latino communities,” said Christopher Landavazo of Cops 4 Causes.
After a few difficult months, Jack’s family was relieved to hear that a bone marrow procedure appeared to be successful.
“Today we got news that my grandson has skin grafted 100 percent of his mom’s cells,” Cindy Konkel said.
The baby’s family will know if the procedure was a complete success within a week, and it will be another three years before they know the procedure is sticking.
For others, the odds are slightly better when people take the time to see if they are a match.
“To do a little swab is the least I could do,” said one deputy.