Parents try to find bone marrow donor for son

January 3, 2012 6:06:02 PM PST
The parents of a 4-year-old San Mateo boy are desperately trying to find a bone marrow donor for him to save his life. Kyle Crawford's school is holding a drive this weekend. Serendipity School in San Mateo is trying to help find the right donor.

Crawford has aplastic anemia. That means his bone marrow doesn't produce enough new blood cells.

"This specific disease means that he is not producing any cells, so it's not just anemia which is red blood cells, but it's white cells and it's platelets as well. He needs a complete new immune system and you do that through a bone marrow transplant," said David Crawford, Kyle's father.

Kyle has been in and out of the hospital since Dec. 5. He urgently needs a bone marrow transplant. Kyle's father, David is Caucasian, his mother, Angie, is Chinese and that makes it a bigger challenge to find a donor.

"For Kyle's case he is mixed race, he's Chinese-Caucasian, so most likely he will need a Chinese-Caucasian donor or an Asian-Caucasian mixed race donor, so it makes it more difficult for him to find a perfect match," said Ruby Law with the Asian-American Donor Program.

There will be two bone marrow donor drives for Kyle this month, one in San Mateo, the other at the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic in San Francisco.

The process of finding a donor starts with a cheek swab test. The test is free and painless. Donors must be between 18 and 60 years old. If a match is found, in most cases, stem cells are collected directly from the donor's blood.

Kyle's mother is encouraging people to join the bone marrow registry.

"Someone will say, 'I can't imagine...' I think parents can imagine what this would be like," said Angie Kwan-Crawford, Kyle's mother.

More information on the bone marrow donor drives can be found can be found here: Bone marrow drive for Kyle Crawford