Blood, bone marrow drive being held for local boy

Noah Sanchez, 5, battling leukemia

SAN ANTONIO – University Hospital is holding a special blood and bone marrow drive Friday in honor of one of their patients, 5-year-old Noah Sanchez. 

Sanchez was diagnosed at the age of 4 with a type of childhood leukemia, that now requires a bone marrow transplant to survive.

"They showed me a box of registration forms, and that was just from this morning," said Dr. Chatchawin Assanasen, Noah's doctor. "So the community here at University Health Systems have really come out to support Noah in this effort."

Assanasen said in addition to finding a bone marrow match, Noah also needs blood that hasn't been exposed to a particular virus, known as CMV.

"Because Noah is going through bone marrow transplantation, we need to make sure that the blood we're giving him has not been previously affected by a virus called CMV," Assanasen said. "This virus, everybody has, and about 80 to 85 percent of the population has been exposed to it."

For Noah's family, it's a tough road ahead, but one made a little easier by all the support they have received.

"It means a lot that the hospital has put themselves out there, the community is putting themselves out there for him," said Tina Stefek, Noah's mother. "Not only for him, but for other children, other cancer patients, that need what they need."

Aside from Friday's "Be the Match" drive, another effort will be held on Monday, Aug. 4 at the University Health System Medical Pavilion.

Interested donors may also stop by University Hospital's Blood Bank at any time to donate.

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