Local nonprofit searching for donors to help young boy


EAST PEORIA (WEEK) — A local nonprofit is asking for the public’s help to find a stem cell donor for a young boy recently diagnosed with a rare blood disease.

Nine-year-old Oskar suffers from aplastic anemia – a rare condition where bone marrow doesn’t produce enough new blood cells.

Be the Match Peoria is an initiative launched through the National Marrow Donor Program.

Volunteer Maureen Leuba said they are on the lookout for a donor to save Oskar’s life and allow him to get back to being a kid again.

“He’d be entering 4th grade this year. Right now, he’s going through chemotherapy,” Leuba said. “(Oskar) just loves to do gaming and playing outside, playing with his friends. But right now he can’t lead a normal life like a 9-year-old boy should be leading.”

Leuba said the process of finding a donor isn’t easy – Be the Match has more than 37,000,000 people from across the country on its registry, but none of them are the right match for Oskar.

And Oskar isn’t the only patient dealing with this difficulty.

“We are pushing to find a donor for Oskar, but there are over 4000 people in the US waiting for stem cell or bone marrow transplants who do not have matches on the registry,” Leuba said. “The more people we can get on the registry, the more chances we can find to help other people.”

Be the Match is hosting a special registry drive for Oskar on September 25th at Ault Park in East Peoria.

Those who cannot make it can text “TeamOskar” to 61474 for information on how to get on the registry.

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