Big Island drive seeks mixed-race bone marrow donors

Big Island drive seeks mixed-race bone marrow donors

KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - By Janelle Guerrero-Miguel

A 14-year-old Kona girl is looking for a bone marrow match -- and her family is asking Hawaii residents of mixed races to help.

Destiny Alverez-Torres is of Hawaiian, Filipino, Japanese, and Puerto Rican ancestry, her family said. Being of mixed race means it's been harder for her to find a compatible donor.

"Out of thousands of those who are registered, we can't find a single match," said Destiny's mother, Amber. "We even tried ourselves, and we didn't match either."

The Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry will be holding bone marrow drives this weekend on the Big Island.

Destiny's parents are hoping people turn out in force.

Registry officials say mixed race people are particularly difficult to match. Only 4 percent of the donors on the national "Be the Match" registry are of mixed race.

Alverez-Torres said signing up to be a donor could save a life.

"All I can say is, we are trying our hardest to find a match," she said. "We really need the public's help."

She described her daughter as outgoing, and a "social butterfly."

"She loves to read, draw, is a hip hop dancer," she said in a call from California, where Destiny is getting treatment.

To sign up as a donor, you must be at least 18 and no older than 44, and be in good general health.

The registration process and health questionnaire takes about 10 minutes. No blood is collected at the bone marrow donor drives.

To register online, click here.

Here's the information on the upcoming Big Island bone marrow drives:

  • Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Subway Restaurant at Kona Commons
  • Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the KTA Superstore in Hilo
  • Monday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Suisan Co. Ltd. in Hilo

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