MEMPHIS, Tenn.– The mother of a West Memphis toddler battling cancer for the third time is on a mission to find him the perfect donor.
Like many kids his age, 3-year-old Akeem Suggs wants toys for Christmas. His mother is praying for something else.
Jasmine Johnson said her son was diagnosed with a rare form of at leukemia when he was only 11-months-old. Since then she said he’s been in and out of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Already having received two stem cell transplants, she said his cancer has returned for a third time.
“They used dad and he was only a half match and they relapsed,” Johnson said. “He got a second transplant using mom which is me and I’m a half match and he relapsed.”
So mom is turning to the community for help and praying for someone who’s a 100% match.
Johnson said she’s hosting donor drives and doing everything she can with the help of family to raise awareness about the need for diverse donors of all ethnicities.
“If you go on BeTheMatch.org the percentage range to find a donor is 29 to 79 percent chance.. where African Americans fall in that 29 percent range,” she said. “It’s harder for African-Americans to find a donor because our tissue type is so complex.”
With his next transplant possibly just months away, Akeem and his mother are hoping their story encourages others to give the gift of life.
“I also want to save other children like my son who are battling with the same type of illness or other illnesses a stem cell transplant could cure them of,” Johnson said.
If you are interested in being a donor and would like to give the gift of life, you can register here.