Covina coach with 300 victories hopes for 1 more victory over cancer

COVINA, Calif. (KABC) -- Coach Lou Farrar has led Charter Oak High School in Covina to more than 300 victories as its football coach for more than five decades. He's also the most active winning coach in the state of California with five CIF championships under his belt.

While he has faced many challenges on the field, its the one off the field that is his toughest one. Farrar, 73, was recently diagnosed with a form of blood cancer that is causing his bone marrow to fail.

"Right now, I am trying to find a match for a stem cell transplant, and I guess the last time I talked to my doctor it has not been going very well," Farrar said.

His only chance to beat the disease is to find a match, but of the 19 million people currently on the National Registry, none has been found.

"It is not based on blood type, it is based on the tissue typing, and that is what makes it difficult," said Joyce Valdez with City of Hope's Be the Match program.

Valdez is helping the Farrar family spread the word about the need for more people to join the registry.

"What you would be doing is filling out a form, then swabbing your cheeks, then those cells are tested," said Valdez.

Farrar's family, friends, former and current players have launched a social media and text campaign in the hopes of finding him a match.

"Everybody is getting on the same side of the rope, and we are going to pull. We are going to continue to pull until we find a match and he is cured and, God willing, he can come back here on Friday night lights," said Farrar's son and fellow coach, Dominic Farrar.

If a match is found the process to donate is not as invasive as it use to be.

"So, you are sitting on a donor bed they are taking the blood separating the blood and the stem cells and those stem cells that they collect will be given to the patient to save their life," said Valdez.

For now, there are chemo treatments and twice weekly visits to City of Hope. Despite the challenges Farrar has no plans to retire.

"I am a football coach. I love the fact that I get a chance to work with young coaches, young kids, and still try to impart some kind of life lesson to them," said Farrar.

On Saturday, Be The Match will hold a donor drive at Charter Oak High School, located at 1430 E Covina Boulevard, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. You must be in general good health and between the ages of 18 and 45 to register.

You can also order a cheek swab kit from Be The Match by texting BIGLOU to 61474 or go online to www.bethematch.org.
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