NORWALK, Calif. - The chances of finding a bone marrow match are already challenging, but since registry numbers are lower for many ethnic groups, the odds for these matches are even slimmer.
An officer with the Los Angeles Police Department hopes to find a match from someone who shares his Filipino heritage.
At CrossFit Live in Norwalk, most people in these fitness classes share a common heritage.
"Primarily 90 percent are Filipinos here," said owner Norman Andres.
And they share a desire to help seven-year LAPD veteran and father of two Matthew Medina.
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His wife, Angelee Medina, said "This whole experience has been an emotional roller coaster since he was diagnosed."
Matthew Medina is suffering from a blood disorder called Aplastic Anemia. A bone marrow transplant is crucial to his survival. His weakened immune system prevents him from attending drives organized for him.
"It seems like it's been non-stop support from family, friends and co-workers," Matthew Medina said.
Filipinos comprise only a half percent of people registered as potential marrow donors. This makes the odds of finding a match extremely low. The Medina family teamed up with A3M to get more people to register.
"It's not like a cross-fit competition where you can make up time on a second workout or third workout. You got one chance. You've got to make it happen. And I think we have enough faith to do it in our Filipino and our Asian communities," said Andres.
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The donation process is simple. Check your eligibility. Fill out a few forms and do a cheek swab. Most of the people attending this drive are here to support Medina, but if any registrant happens to be a match for any one, organizers say it's important to stay committed because you could save a life.
"It's like you're that jackpot. If you happen to be the specific match of that patient, you're giving them an extension on their life," said A3M recruiter Chris Chen.
"I just keep praying that something will happen any minute, any day or any minute. I hope it'll happen sooner than we know it," said Angelee Medina.
Matthew Medina added that being a hero doesn't require unusual physical strength. All you need is a desire to help.
"If not for me, for somebody else. You can be the cure for somebody else," he said.
More bone marrow drives are being set up every day. To find out more, check out Medina's Match4Matt Facebook page.