ALEXANDRIA, VA (WUSA9) - The family of a 9-year-old Alexandria boy battling Leukemia held a bone marrow donation drive on Sunday, hoping to help people with cancers like his find a cure.
Jack Creedon has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. His doctors originally thought that a bone marrow transplant was his best shot at beating cancer.
Nearly 80 people gathered at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Alexandria for the Be the Match event. The international registry pairs potential donors with people suffering from life-threatening blood cancers.
Creedon has a line that runs through his chest and up into the main artery of his neck. His parents hoped a donor’s bone marrow would one day run through it.
“Yeah, I flush his lines almost every night,” said his sister, Catherine Creedon.
At the church, potential donors swabbed the inside of their cheeks four separate times for 10 seconds each. The saliva is then sealed, delivered and tested.
“Were unable to find a bone marrow match for Jack,” said his dad, Dan Creedon.
It has been difficult to find a match, in part, because he and his sister were adopted from a Russian orphanage. So his immediate family is not genetically compatible.
Other candidates identified as potential donors became unavailable. As a result, the family opted for a cutting edge treatment out of Duke University.
“We’re nervous,” Dan said. “It is just about the most complex thing you could do.”
Jack is scheduled to be infused with stem cells from a baby’s umbilical cord. These stem cell will help Jack generate new red and white blood cells and platelets.
“Luckily we have a really good set up, and there is a Ronald McDonald House nearby,” mom Leslie Creedon said. “So we have our own little hotel suite that we can make our home away from home for six months.”
After the procedure, Jack has to remain in the hospital for 100 days.
His immune system will be compromised during that time and only family and doctors will be able to see him.
Even though Jack no longer needs a bone marrow transplant, the family decided to go ahead with the event because so many people are still in need of donors.
Anyone can support the cause to help Jack and others affected by LLS by visiting Be the Match.