BEVERLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES - A Southern California woman in need of a bone marrow transplant has found a hero for her cause, and he happens to be one of the greatest athletes alive.
Every day Krissy Kobata of Beverlywood is tackling the biggest fight of her life. The 35-year-old spends her days cheering for the New England Patriots -- and battling myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow failure disorder.
"I get very tired easily. Stairs are a very big challenge sometimes because you get so out of breath," she explained.
It's the same disease Good Morning America's Robin Roberts fought in 2012.
Like Roberts, Kobata must undergo chemo therapy and a bone marrow transplant. But as a half Japanese-American, she's had to wait 10 years to find a perfect genetic match because there are not many mixed-race people on the donor registry.
Kobata has been in decent health for most of that decade, so she's done her part to raise awareness about being a donor.
"If it's not me then at least somebody is getting their match, you know, and truthfully, that is what kept us going and kept us working," she shared.
Kobata's search became urgent recently, when doctors said her blood count was too low.
Through a family friend and a plea on social media, her message reached an unlikely hero. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shared her story on Facebook.
"It was one of those moments that was kind of surreal. The fact that he took time out of his day to do a little post was so meaningful," she said.
Kobata said just one day after his post, the National Marrow Donor Program told her roughly 100 people of mixed ethnicities signed up.
"His post actually generated an incredible amount of awareness, and it really took our mission to the next level," she added.
Thanks to medical advancements over the last 10 years, her older brother now qualifies as a donor, but Brady's post could help other people of mixed races find a match, too.
"I was his No. 1 West Coast football fan, now I'm his No. 1 fan in life," Kobata said.
Even though she has found a match, she said her work does not end here. Kobata hopes to raise more awareness after she fights her disease.