By Maegan Ortiz
Leukemia patient Sofia Flores, 2 years old, is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant and tomorrow the East Los Angeles College community can help.
There will be a bone marrow drive from noon to 3 p.m. on the south side of ELAC’s E-7 building in the hopes of finding a match for Flores, who has a rare form of leukemia.
Family and friends have been reaching out across the Los Angeles area hoping to find the gift of life.
“Her mother is white and her dad is Hispanic which makes finding a match difficult,” ELAC professor of kinesiology Marilyn Ladd said.
Ladd lives in the same neighborhood as the Flores family.
Sofia’s mother is an educator and according to Ladd, has strong ties to many ELAC alumni.
Often the best hopes of a match come from within the family of someone struggling with an illness like Sofia’s.
Her father Ignacio donated his marrow in January, but the procedure did not work.
Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) types, which are used to make matches, are more commonly found in people with the same racial or ethnic background.
According to the 2012-2013 ELAC College Profile and Data Book, 76.6 percent of enrolled students are Hispanic or Latino, making the likelihood of finding a match higher.
Registering to donate is painless and does not require blood to be drawn.
It only takes a swab of saliva to determine a match.
Volunteers must be between 18 and 44 and be willing to help any patient.
“We have to help this precious angel,” Ladd said.
Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M) is coordinating the donor recruitment drive. One of the organization’s goals is to increase and diversify the Be The Match Registry.
Be the Match is the operator of the world’s largest and most diverse marrow registry operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.
A3M conducts over 500 donor recruitment drives each year.
To date, more than 400 donors, who registered at an A3M drive, have donated their marrow cells to help save a life.
Tomorrow’s drive is hosted by ELAC’s Feminist Majority Club.