NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A young man who needs a bone marrow transplant personifies endurance and bravery. He lost most of his immediate family in a plane crash and now he’s fighting leukemia without them.
“The best possible scenario would be of course to get a really high match number,” said Dionis Guerrero Baez.
His body is worn down by repeated cancer treatments, but the 20-year-old said this about having leukemia:
“I’ve been through worse,” he told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.
More than 10 years ago the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 killed his mother and his only siblings.
“My mother’s death and my two little sisters’ deaths, I would rather get cancer over again,” Baez said.
Raised by his father, he dreamed of one day becoming a surgeon. Then leukemia struck in 2009 while he was at Hofstra University.
His father is not a bone marrow match, and so far the same is true of millions in the registry.
Doctor Diane George said his best bet could have been the sisters who died so young.
“In this young man’s case it just brings back the thoughts of this horrible tragedy and what might have been if that hadn’t happened,” George said. “I just hope we can pull this young man through.”
“At the end of the day there is someone sicker than I am; there’s another person who has lost more than I have,” Baez said.
He hopes his story inspires people to seek out bone marrow drives and try to help the many patients out there waiting for that one miraculous match.
One such drive will be held from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday at the Wintergarden Plaza in New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at 3959 Broadway.
“If a matching donor is found through this drive, I will hopefully be able to resume my studies as well as get my normal life back. This drive could help not just me, but the countless other patients who are also waiting for a donor,” Baez said.
If you can’t make it to the drive, you can get a registration kit and additional information by clicking here.
Baez said he feels his mother and sisters are always with him, angels guiding him to beat the odds.
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