Corona mother of 4 seeks bone marrow match

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A local mother of four is asking the public for help to find a bone marrow match. (KABC)

A local mother is asking the public for help to find a bone marrow match.

While Roeuy Garay was pregnant with her daughter Brook, she felt weak and an unusual back pain. Her doctors thought it was just part of the pregnancy. But a few weeks after her delivery, her fiance Joseph knew something was seriously wrong.

"I passed out and he took me to urgent care and said, 'Something is wrong with her. It's got to be her kidney or something. We need to do some blood tests,'" Roeuy said.

A bone biopsy and body scan revealed a diagnosis the 36-year-old Corona mother of four could not believe.

"They came in and said, 'Yeah, you have multiple myeloma, and it's about between 70 to 80 percent of your blood is cancer,'" she said.

Multiple myeloma, also called Kahler's disease, is a cancer of the plasma cells, which are in the blood stream. Her best chance at survival is a bone marrow transplant.

None of her siblings were a match and being of Cambodian descent, Roeuy's odds of finding a match are very slim. It's a fact that is hard to hide from her children.

There are 12 million people in the National Bone Marrow Registry, but only 7 percent are Asian and only a small fraction of that are Southeast Asian.

Dr. Elizabeth Budde with City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte said it only takes a cheek swab to be part of the registry and donating stem cells can be as easy as donating blood.

For now, Roeuy is in remission so she needs a match as soon as possible.

"My only chance is to find someone out there that's a match for me," she said.

She is working with an organization called A3M to set up bone marrow drives, including one at the Cambodian New Year's celebration in Long Beach.

Here are the drives being held for Roeuy:

  • Fro Yo 5K run at the Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine on Saturday, April 11 from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m.

  • Home Depot, 2450 Cherry Ave, in Signal Hill on Saturday, April 18 from noon until 6 p.m.

  • Cambodian New Year at Eldorado Park Area 3, 7550 E. Spring St., in Long Beach on Saturday April 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Those who wish to register may call A3M or "Be the Match" for more information.

    Related Topics:
    healthbone marrowtransplantcancerhealth
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