The Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry held a drive at Kahala Mall Saturday.

The featured recipient was 3-year-old Katy Akitake, who is battling leukemia.

The registry says it is harder to find a donor for patients of mixed ethnicities, and a nationwide search of more than 12 million donors produced no matches.

New donors are needed, not just for Akitake, but others as well.

One volunteer became a donor seven years ago after attending a drive at the University of Hawaii.

“They were looking for a donor for a 22-year-old, so I signed up right then and there,” said Courtney Gaddis. “I got called maybe like a few months later saying I was a potential match for a little boy and I did some blood tests, did a physical exam, and I was the best match for that kid, so I ended up donating. It was a great experience. I feel very blessed and lucky to have been able to help him live more years of his life.”

Registering involves filling out a form and getting a simple cheek swab. If you’re a match, you’ll undergo some tests. The registry says the donation process is much simpler now, and done in Hawaii.

If you were unable to attend the drive, you can sign up online here.

You can also track updates from the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry via its Facebook page here.

from KHON2
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