ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Be The Match is a network of donors, volunteers, health care professionals, and researchers who help patients get the life-saving blood stem-cell transplants they need.
Kaylin was diagnosed with lymphoblastic Leukemia in May when she was 30 weeks pregnant | Photo: Todd Breeden
On September 5, 2019, Todd Breeden will host a Be the Match Registry at the McGaheysville Volunteer Fire Company for the Valley community in honor of his daughter, who is undergoing chemotherapy. The event will run from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Kaylin Breeden was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic Leukemia in May. At that time, she was 30 weeks pregnant with her second child. She gave birth to a baby boy named Lincoln two months early, and started treatment right away.
"They wanted to make sure they could start the treatments as quick as they could," said Todd, Kaylin's father.
According to the organization, Be The Match, blood cancers and disorders like Leukemia, Lymphoma and Sickle Cell Anemia can be curable with a stem cell transplant.
Todd said Kaylin is in remission after her first round of chemotherapy, but she will have to continue treatments for the next two years. It is unknown if Kaylin will eventually need a transplant, but they are looking for a match to be cautious.
"They are typing her just to make sure that there is a match out there, just in case she does need a stem cell or a bone marrow, that we've found a match ahead of time," said Todd.
Todd said that his daughter's diagnosis inspired him to learn as much as he could about cancer, which led him to finding Be The Match.
At the event, folks will give a cheek swab and their DNA will be entered into a database. Cheek swabs are completely free for people ages 18 to 44 and there is a cost of $100 for people who are 45 to 60 years old. This is because there is a greater need for young people of diverse racial and ethnic heritage to help find a match.
According to the organization, about 1 in every 430 U.S. Be The Match Registry members go on to donate to a patient.
"A few minutes to do a cheek swab, and you could save a life!" encouraged Todd.
Matches are made through genetics, so those who do match typically share the same ethnicity. It is much more complex than matching blood type, and matches do not need to have the same blood type to be compatible.
If someone is a match, the entire donating process is completely paid for by Be The Match. The organization said the most common way of donating is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that is similar to donating platelets or plasma.
Anyone who wants more information can text "KaylinStrong" to 61474. If you can not make the event but would like to register, you can text that number and order a kit online.