Mom makes desperate plea for 8-year-old son in need of bone marrow transplant

Mom makes desperate plea for 8-year-old son in need of bone marrow transplant
7-year-old with sickle cell anemia, Dakhiyon Howard (Source: WMC)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Tennessee mom is making a desperate plea for her son battling a serious condition -- sickle cell anemia. He needs a bone marrow transplant, but after a year on the national donor list, he still hasn’t found a match.

Every three weeks Dakhiyon and his mom drive two hours from Union City to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for grueling treatment. He’s back in Memphis for a few days for treatment that will only come to an end if he finds a donor.

We met 8-year-old Dakhiyon on a good day. At a place, he’s been coming to practically his entire life, St. Jude.

“They treat me how my mom treat me they treat me like their kid,” said Dakhiyon.

He’s an outgoing, popcorn eating kid with an infectious smile that only went away when we brought up one question -- why do you come here?

Dakhiyon suffers from sickle cell anemia and a year and a half ago a new condition was discovered, moyamoya syndrome that causes his veins to shrink. So this 2nd grader has to get a blood transfusion at St. Jude every month.

“He’s a miracle, a walking miracle,” said mom Audrea Crumble.

And he needs a miracle, a bone marrow transplant. But Dakhiyon is facing a big challenge in finding a match.

“The likelihood of finding a perfect match or a very good match is highly dependent on the availability of someone with a similar ethnic background,” said Dr. Steven Devine, chief medical officer at Be the Match.

Be the Match is a non-profit that finds volunteer donors for patients. But so few blacks are on the registry. Black people have a 23 percent chance to find a match compared to 77 percent for Caucasians.

“The urgency is yesterday. We needed this match yesterday,” said Crumble.

It’s a simple process. Be the match will send you a kit and with a simple mouth swab, you could be added to the list for a potential donor.

For Audrea Crumble, she may soon need a second donor. Her youngest son has also been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia.

“I catch them talking about like he’ll see his brother hurting and be like trying to tell him ways to make it feel better or it will be over soon or tomorrow will be better,” she said.

This family has to wait til tomorrow with hopes it will bring the perfect match.

Dakhiyon’s mom and family have been tested, but they are not a match. She is convinced more African-Americans would step up to be a living donor if they knew how to help.

If you would like to help or know of someone who would visit Be the Match online for more information. Be the Match also commits to paying for any medical bills when matched with a patient in need.

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