Teen From San Diego Seeks Stem Cell Donor In Leukemia Fight

A 14-year-old boy named Chase Riehl from San Diego is in need of a stem cell donor to help him fight leukemia for the second time. Chase was an active teenager who enjoyed sports and spending time with his friends and family. However, a few months before his diagnosis in May 2022, he started experiencing fatigue and leg pain. After two rounds of blood testing, Chase’s white blood cell count skyrocketed, and he was told he had cancer.

Chase initially received a bone marrow transplant from his mother, which was a 50% match. However, the leukemia returned, and now he requires a stem cell donor who is a better match. The Riehl family held a donor sign-up event at Palomar Health to encourage people to see if they can help Chase. The challenge lies in finding a donor with a similar genetic makeup, as Chase is of mixed ethnicity (Caucasian and part South Pacific Islander). Donors from similar backgrounds have a higher likelihood of being a strong match. Be The Match, an organization with over 39 million potential donors in their database, aims to address this disparity and increase the chances of finding a match for patients like Chase.

Miranda Kougher from Be The Match travels around southern California to urge people to sign up as potential donors. She emphasized the importance of having a diverse pool of donors to increase the chances of finding matches for patients in need. Even if someone is not a match for Chase, they can still be added to the database and potentially save a life in the future. Be The Match also provides support to donors by covering expenses such as missed work, travel, and childcare. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 40 who is in good health can become a potential donor. Details on how to sign up and help Chase, as well as others in need, can be found on the Be The Match website. The Riehl family urges anyone with an interest in saving a life to consider becoming a donor.

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