Way-OT: Be a hero for this beautiful boy

Submitted by Larry Appleton on February 12th, 2018 at 2:29 PM


He's six months old and needs a bone marrow donor to live.  He's got a condition that only 21 people before him had been diagnosed with.  Thus far, nothing has turned up on the bone marrow registry.

If you're on the east side of the mitten and are free this Saturday, get to Rochester Hills and see if you perhaps can save this darling child's life.



February 12th, 2018 at 3:34 PM ^

anywhere...but the odds of being matched to someone seem slim to none...at least for me.

My friend from high school had cancer and died from it 3 years ago in March.  When I found out about him having cancer, I immediately registered with different bone marrow registries:



Others are here:



Long story short, he never found a match - and neither have I.  I would love to help someone - just waiting for that call.

Good luck to this little guy.


February 13th, 2018 at 12:49 AM ^

Thats great , it really is nice to help others, even when you dont get to see the end results. I donate blood as often as I can because its just such a small way to help our fellow man.

I have a question to you , Did your cousins say what the bone marrow donation process was like ? I am keen to learn. Thank you


February 13th, 2018 at 9:05 AM ^

I don't mean to step on Bo's shoes answering what his cousin's collections were like, but I can probably help answer for you. There's two major ways that stem cells are collected (three, if you happen to be a fetus at the moment and would like to donate your umbilical cord blood after you're born). One involves pulling the marrow directly from a bone (while under general anesthesia). Usually the back of someone's hips. The docs will use a sturdy needle, about the thickness of a couple pencil leads and then use a syringe to suck out the marrow. Donors wake up very sore, but they heal up good as new and the marrow regenerates. The other way is less invasive, but it depends on what the cells will be used for whether or not it's an option. That involves taking a medicine that ramps up your bone marrow causing it to push out stem cells into your circulating blood. Then, the donor gets hooked up to a machine with an IV in each arm. One side draws out the blood and the other returns in. In the middle, the machine selects out the stem cells to collect them. Hope that helps!

Tangentially related, if there are any soon to be MgoDads or MgoMoms reading, donating umbilical cord blood is free, pretty easy, and has the potential to save a life from something that would otherwise be discarded. If encourage everyone to consider. The companies that offer personal storage are a bit of a racket at the moment. Right now, the only indications we have to transplant cord stem cells would preclude you from getting your own back. If you have infantile leukemia, for instance, you would never want to give someone their own cord blood back and risk returning leukemia cells. In other words, you pay a bunch in storage fees and are quite unlikely to ever use them.


February 12th, 2018 at 2:47 PM ^

Man, I hope it works out.  How sweet would it be if Mgoblog got Dave Brandon fired and saved this kids life?! On a serious note, that's an awesome cause. The upside to getting tested is that even if you can't help this kid, there's a chance you could have the opportunity to be a hero to another kid down the line (or not, you aren't under any obligation after being added to the registry).

Block M and Bl…

February 12th, 2018 at 3:28 PM ^

Are what make everything about the Michigan community exceptional. The generosity and extension of character are what truly makes M and it’s supporters set themselves apart. Sure we are a bit crazy at times, but who with passion isnt? Signed up and hopeful to help the little guy!


February 12th, 2018 at 4:22 PM ^

which are expressed as proteins that sit on the surface of our cells and identify us as us to the immune system. "Major Histocompatibility Complex" or "MHC" type is sort of your genetic fingerprint, and when looking for a donor, you try to find someone that's so close it's less obvious that they're using a "fake ID" to not alert the immune system.


Here's a cool bit of gee-whiz biology: your immune system rolls around in patrol cars including a type of cell called a CD8 or "Killer T-Cell"  looking for cells that might be infected by viruses. If there's a virus in the house, the infected cell makes little bits of viral proteins that get displayed on the surface of the cell in the context of MHC Class I proteins. The Killer T-Cell recognizes it when it's held up that way and says "hey, that shouldn't be there, I smell a virus" and says "Die, you infected cell, DIE."  

But as evolution danced throughout the years, viruses figured out they could fool the immune system by pulling down the MHC I proteins from the cell surface. No MHC I, no alarm bells for the cops. And that worked for a looooong time, but then the immune system caught up, and said "OK, we're going to kill any cell that DOESN'T have any MHC I on the surface. Which is like when Homer evaded the (tax?) collector by taking his number off the door, and the guy says "OK, we'll come to the house with no number."

And then the viruses evolved, and they started expressing fake MHC I proteins on the surface of cells so it would look normal but couldn't hold up viral proteins to call the Killer T Cells. Amazing? Amazing.

And then immune systems adjusted to get more specific about looking for fake IDs, like ones that stand out like this:

And the evolutionary dance continues to this day, my friend.


February 12th, 2018 at 4:20 PM ^

There are a bunch of extracellular proteins that stick out from the cells called HLA antigens (human leukocyte antigens).  Essentially, the transplant docs will be looking for cells that are as close as possible to the original cells of the recipient.  The better they match, the more the donor cells will be able "blend in" with the recipient's own cells.  Interesting side note, many tranpslants these days don't require actual bone marrow.  If you (or anyone else) is squemish about that procedure, they can often collect them peripherally.  It's like getting hooked up to a dialysis machine that filters circulating stem cells from your blood and then puts everything else back.

EDIT: Sopwith beat me to the punch and with an excellent fake ID analogy.


February 12th, 2018 at 3:47 PM ^

I'm already regsitered on Be The Match. That means I'm not a match for Elias. I'm feeling slightly worthless right about now.  Let's hope a match is found for that little guy.


February 12th, 2018 at 4:05 PM ^

when giving blood.  I have never gotten a call about anything.  Is this something i need to renew?  I was never sure if something went wrong with my registry or it's just really rare to match.  I am O positive, but have no idea how bone marrow matching works.  


February 12th, 2018 at 4:23 PM ^

Once you're on the match, they keep your information (contact info and bone marrow typing) and will periodically check in to make sure your contact info is accurate.  If you haven't heard anything for years, it probably wouldn't hurt to sign-in online to make sure your stuff is updated.  It is fairly rare to match, statistically speaking, you probably haven't missed an opportunity even if your info is out of date.  The bone marrow matching is similar, but much more detailed than blood typing.

Go Blue in Tampa

February 12th, 2018 at 6:28 PM ^

Glad to hear some other people have registered and are willing, just no match for the little guy.... I've been on for years as well, but no match. That was just a quick DNA swab.