When Coalinga residents heard about Bryan, a seven year old boy who needed a blood stem cell transplant, they rolled up their sleeves and showed up at a city-wide effort to find a match.
The child was first diagnosed with Leukemia when he was only three, and since then the family has dealt with the challenges of that disease, while still trying to live as normally as possible for his older siblings.
None of Bryan’s family had a close enough match, so the search has been on to find an acceptable match for a much needed transplant which could help Bryan combat the disease.
“It really helps that the community is largely Hispanic, since we believe that a match might be more possible in that ethnicity group,” said his mother, Maria Benitez.
City of Hope is a national organization which offers help and hope for those who are battling a variety of illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and other serious illnesses.
Joyce Valdez, the liaison for Coalinga’s event last month, was impressed with the community and people of Coalinga. “I would move there in a heart beat if I had a stay at home job,” she said. “The people there are amazing!”
Valdez explained that on the day of the event for Bryan, Coalinga earned the number one spot for largest event in California, and nationwide was ranked second.
“That’s just amazing,” said Valdez. “I was beside myself with the amount of support, love, and hope during this family’s darkest hour.”
“More than 300 people came to show support for the event, and 245 provided swabs for testing,” Valdez exclaimed. “This is not typical at all.”
Because testing and results are confidential, Coalinga may never know how much of a difference they may have made. But for now, Coalinga can stand proudly for being part of something larger than any one person.
It is not too late to provide a swab sample. Use email@example.com to communicate or contact Coalinga Press for another connection opportunity.