This community, if nothing else, loves to rally around a cause.

A new cause that I recently caught wind of deserves everyone’s attention

Desert Vista freshman baseball player Ryan Kibby is in need of a bone marrow transplant. Details of how those willing to help haven’t been figured out yet, but is scheduled for March. As we got more information, we will pass it on.

Until then here is the back story.

Ryan was diagnosed with severe Aplastic anemia, a disease that between 600 and 900 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with each year, when he was 9 years old.

Aplastic anemia is a disease of the bone marrow caused by destruction of the blood-forming stem cells in the bone marrow. Patients with severe Aplastic anemia are at risk for life-threatening infections or bleeding because the bone marrow stops making enough red cells, white cells and platelets for the body.

Research suggests the stem cell destruction occurs because the body's immune system attacks its own cells by mistake.

Essentially, he has the bone marrow of a 90-year-old man.

Ryan’s positive response to immunosuppressive drug therapy allowed his body to produce enough blood cells and lead a normal lifestyle.

However, this was not a cure and in recent months his blood counts have been steadily declining. A second immunosuppressive therapy is not recommended in Ryan’s case and he will need to proceed with a bone marrow/stem cell transplant.

A bone marrow/stem cell transplant involves killing the bone marrow stem cells with chemotherapy and radiation which also kills the immune system. Blood-forming stem cells from a healthy donor are then introduced into the bloodstream.

A well-matched donor is important to the success of the transplant. Unfortunately, seven out of 10 of patients who need a transplant don't find a matching donor in their family.

And that was the case with Ryan’s family.

So it is time to search elsewhere and that’s when this community usually steps up.

The Desert Vista boosters will be holding a bone marrow drive at Desert Vista in March. Volunteers will be needed to with the help the "Be The Match Program" conducted by Phoenix Children’s Hospital to facilitate the testing.

A test that, chances are, will show that someone in this community is the right match.

Could it be you? Let’s find out.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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