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Saving Leah: How you can help save this Kentucky two-year-old's life

To save her life, doctors say Leah Faith will need a bone marrow transplant. There's only one problem: She doesn't have a match on the national registry.

SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — Two-year-old Leah Faith is currently in a fight for her life.

Doctors at Norton Children's Hospital said Leah has a high-risk form of leukemia and will need a bone marrow transplant to save her life.

There's only one major problem. Leah doesn't have any matching donors on the Be the Match registry.

"This is likely because she is of Puerto Rican descent," Erica Sevilla, public relations manager for Be the Match, said. "Hispanic patients only find a match 48% of the time, compared to 78% of the time for white patients."

Sevilla said a donor can't be found in Leah's family as children receive half of their genetics from each parent and only 30% of patients find a match in their family, usually from their siblings.

Leah doesn't have any siblings, Sevilla said.

Her family hosted a cheek swabbing drive at their church in Shelbyville on Jan. 22 to get more people on the registry--and hopefully to find Leah a match. 

"They don't realize the impact they're making on our life and our family's life especially for Leah. It just takes one person to save a life," Leah's aunt Charla Valentin said.

Sevilla said individuals who couldn't make it to Saturday's drive but still wanted to help, could also text SAVELEAH to 61474 or register online and a cheek swab kit will be mailed to their home.

To join the Be the Match registry, individuals must be 18-40 years old.


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