A Filipino family in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada is looking for a stem cell donor to save the life of their three month old son.
Simone Janetta is asking for help from the community for her son Boston de Castro, who has hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a rare immune disease.
Janetta’s son had a fever a few weeks ago, and he was brought to the hospital. After his liver and spleen enlarged and his blood count dropped, a bone marrow biopsy was performed which led to his doctors providing a diagnosis of HLH.
He is currently undergoing chemotherapy and is receiving steroids, which has made a significant improvement with his health. He is still currently in the hospital undergoing treatment, but his family is hoping to bring him home soon.
“We are just begging the community. Anybody who is half-Filipino [and] half-Caucasian, even if you’re any other ethnic minority, just get on the stem cell registry. You could save a life, just like our son’s,” Janetta said.
“Anybody that joins the registry is providing hope to patients like Boston, who are just desperately searching for that match,” Janetta told the CBC. “Knowing that you might have been the only person in the world that could have matched that patient … that’s a huge thing to be proud of.”
Janetta is looking for individuals with similarly ethnically diverse backgrounds registered with the Canadian Blood Services to help. Janetta is white, while her husband, Rex de Castro is Filipino.
CBC News reached out to the Canadian Blood Services’ Sarah Jasmine, who said that only 3.5% of the people registered are from ethnically diverse backgrounds.
While the family is looking for a stem cell donor, a Go Fund Me campaign has been set up to help them with the costs associated with the treatment. Click here to help.
PHOTO: Simone Janetta
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