Oakland teen in need of bone marrow transplant

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- An Oakland high school student is facing a health battle no child should ever face. Darryl Aikens needs a bone marrow transplant after being diagnosed with leukemia two years ago. The cancer is spreading, but he's remaining resilient.

"I don't feel like there's nothing that can stop me, but I know there's something in the way right now," he said.

The McClymonds High School football player was on a roll.

"I just made honor roll so I was just feeling it, but then I got a call Tuesday that my cancer came back in my back," he said.

Aikens was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago following a football game.

"I had got an interception and I couldn't breathe afterwards and my mom could tell I couldn't breathe afterwards and my mom could tell it was taking a pretty long time for me to catch my breath," he said.

Doctors at Kaiser Permanente Oakland treated him while he continued to play sports.

"I'm like, well, I'm not going to let it sit here and just stop me so I'm just going to have as much fun as a I can and hope for the best," he said.

His former coach Todd Walker doesn't want to see the 17-year-old sidelined again.

"It was just sad to get that phone call," said Walker. "He's a real great kid."

Aikens needs a bone marrow transplant to treat the cancer that's moved to his spine.

"And um, I'm just praying that I can find my match," he said.

On Friday the family heads back to Kaiser.

"It's going to be a stronger chemo than what he got the first time and also he's going to have to go back to another round of radiation also," said the teen's mother, Tierra Barker.

Aikens' desire to win on and off the field keeps everyone motivated.

"Oh yeah, keeps me going," said Barker. "If he's positive and I'm positive, we can beat this."

Friends are working to coordinate a bone marrow drive, because Aikens has big plans after he beats cancer.

"I want to go to college," he said. "I want to go play college football. I want to go to Oregon that's my favorite college."

Finding a match would get him back on the field for his senior year.

If you'd like to help and see if you're a match, a bone marrow drive will be held on April 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Frick Middle School, 2845 64th Avenue Oakland.
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