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Utah family helping find unusual match for boy needing transplant

Published: Friday, June 13 2014 10:05 p.m. MDT

KAYSVILLE — A plea for help has circled the globe, as a California family tries desperately to cure their son's leukemia.

Seven-year-old Baylor Fredrickson needs a life-saving bone marrow transplant soon, and his family in Utah is working with many others to try to make that happen.

"He's just a cute, energetic little boy," said Emily Schoenwald of Kaysville, as she looks at a Facebook page dedicated to Baylor. Schoenwald's cousin, Rob Fredrickson, is Baylor's father.

The boy was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago. After treatment, Baylor's cancer was in remission until it returned this spring. Now, the Bay Area boy needs a life-saving bone marrow transplant. His sister is not a match, and neither is anyone else on the bone marrow registry.

"There is a match for him somewhere," said Schoenwald. "We just need to find him."

But Baylor is half Japanese and half German. So his doctors say his match will only come from a pool of Asian-Caucasians.

Schoenwald said she had no idea that ethnicity played a part in finding a bone marrow match. When she encountered that hurdle, she decided to do what she can to expand the number of Asian-Caucasians on the Be the Match national bone marrow registry.

"We are trying to get as many people added to the registry as possible, as quickly as possible," she said.

Doctors were hoping they would already have a donor lined up for Baylor. The best opportunity for the transplant, based on Baylor's health and treatment, is quickly approaching.

The "A Match for Bay" Facebook page took off when Michael Lewis, the author of "The Blindside" and "Moneyball," wrote about Baylor and shared the boy's story with his followers.

Schoenwald is also working with the Asian American Donor Program to get more people of mixed ethnicity on the registry. She is also sharing donor registry test kits and Baylor's story at the Utah Asian Festival Saturday at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It's pretty simple to become part of the Be the Match bone marrow registry. Donors must be 18-44 years old. The potential donor takes four different swab samples from inside their cheek and sends the samples in to the registry, along with the paperwork on the applicant's background. Even if a would-be donor does not end up saving Baylor's life, that person could save somebody else's life.

"It doesn't cost you anything," said Schoenwald. "It takes a few minutes of your time for the opportunity to save a life."

Email: jboal@deseretnews.com

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