CHICAGO (CBS) — The Latino community is being called upon to help save the life of a 49-year old west suburban man who is in need of a life-saving bone marrow transplant.
Hubertino “Tino” Garcia has lymphoma and, according to Julie Contreras of Be The Match Registry, has a greater chance of finding a bone marrow match with someone who, like him, is Hispanic.
A life-saving donor could come from any ethnic group, but Contreras said there’s a greater chance from within a person’s own ethnic group.
On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, there’s going to be an effort by supporters of Tino — “Tino’s Heroes” as they’re called — to register people to be bone marrow donors.
Latinos and other minority groups are woefully under-represented as blood and bone marrow donors, Contreras says, many times because of the “cultural taboos” and myths that surround being a donor.
She says all it takes to determine if you’re a match to someone is to have a swab taken of the inside of your mouth and fill out an application.
Contreras is calling on Hispanics “to step up.”
She says Tino Garcia and his wife Mary are “pillars in the community” and that, Tino Garcia is someone who helps others out whenever they have needed help and that now it’s time for others to help him.
“There isn’t a better gift we can give during the holidays, but a cure to help save (someone’s) life,” Contreras says.
To be a bone marrow donor, you must be between the ages of 18 and 44 and be in reasonably good health and willing to donate to any patient in need. There’s no cost.
The marrow drive will take place Wednesday, November 27th from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. at 900 E. Roosevelt Road in West Chicago. A blood drive will take place on the same day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.