Local Teen Desperately Needs Bone Marrow Transplant - NBC Southern California

Local Teen Desperately Needs Bone Marrow Transplant

No one in Alexandrea Vizcarra's family is a match, so Children's Hospital LA will be holding a bone marrow registry drive on Saturday to get people registered and tested.



    Local Teen Desperately Needs Bone Marrow Transplant

    No one in Alexandrea Vizcarra's family is a match, so Children's Hospital Los Angeles is holding a bone marrow registry drive on Saturday in the hopes of saving the 19 year old. Kim Baldonado reports from Hollywood for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on June 29, 2012. (Published Friday, June 29, 2012)

    She is only 19 years old, but Alexandrea Vizcarra is fighting for her life -- for the second time.

    "She's had a lot of complications this time around. It's very different now," according to her mother, Nora Vizcarra. "The first time around she was able to be at home more often. This time, this is our second home, now."

    That second home is Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where the teenager is undergoing treatment for leukemia. It's also where she got a surprise visit from Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on Friday.

    Doctors say what Alexandrea needs now is a bone marrow transplant, but no one in her family is a match and neither is anyone on the national bone marrow registry.

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    That's why her parents are reaching out to the public.

    "It's not hard to reach out to strangers at this point, because, right now, she needs a match. She absolutely needs a match to live," according to her mother.

    There will be both a blood drive and a bone marrow registration drive for Alexandrea on Saturday at Children's Hospital from 8 a.m. to noon. A Facebook invite for the event has details.

    Potential donors don't have to go to the event to see if they're a match, though. The National Marrow Donor Program will send a cotton swab kit to your house to find out if you're a match. Go to marrow.org or swabplusdna.org to find out more.

    There's a push for more Latinos to register, since donors are more likely to be found within shared ethnicity and race groups.

    "Not only are we trying to help my daughter, but there's a pool of people too that need matches as well. Definitely, we can all make a difference," says Isaac Vizcarra, Alexandrea's father.

    "It's so simple with bone marrow registration. It's literally a cotton swab in your cheek," according to actor Nick Gonzales, who became friends with Alexandrea.

    Gonzales often volunteers his time at Children's Hospital visiting patients, and became friends with Alexandrea when she was first diagnosed in 2009.

    "She hasn't wasted a single moment, so it was heart breaking to hear that she's now relapsed," says Gonzales.

    Gonzales has held celebrity blood drives for Alexandrea, but now the need is urgent.

    "The idea of beating it, it seems so impossible, and here's a child fighting alone, by themselves," says Gonzales. "You would literally step into someone's life and fight right there alongside her. It's one of the biggest gifts you can really give."

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