CHICAGO (CBS) — As thousands celebrate the Puerto Rican parade, one mom is searching for answers and hope. Her 6-year-old son needs a lifesaving medical procedure that someone in the crowd may be able to provide.
Overcast skies and rain failed to dampen the joy at Saturday’s parade with thousands coming out to Humboldt Park to celebrate.
Alfredo Diaz was born with a rare genetic disorder. The 6-year-old’s immune system essentially attacks his own intestines, which has resulted in hospital visits for much of his young life.
His mother, Natalia Torres, says his only option is a stem cell transplant, but unfortunately, his family is not a match.
So, she hopes those attending the parade could make a lifesaving difference by getting swabbed and checking their genetic makeup.
Be the Match says patients are most likely to be compatible with a donor of a similar ethnic background, but Hispanics make up only 7% of the current registry. As a result, patients like Alfredo only have a 46% chance of finding a compatible match in comparison to the 77% chance of a white patient.
Torres is confident a match exists out there, adding there is no other alternative.
“Without a match, he will die, and I’m his mom. I want to do everything that I can to help him out,” she said.
Terri Haid of Be the Match said the organization had registered about 30 people at the parade.
“We’re just getting going. We would like to get over 100, and our goal (is) really for Alfredo to find his match. We want to register thousands,” she said.
If you’re interested in helping the family out or seeing if you’re a match, you can text ALFREDOPR to 61474 or visit https://join.bethematch.org/Alfredo in order to complete an online registration. Be The Match will send a swab kit with instructions on how to complete the process. One in 430 potential donors go on to donate to a patient.