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Be The Match registry saves lives through marrow transplants

Posted at 5:28 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 23:50:01-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — November is a time to give thanks, but it is also National Marrow Awareness Month. For one family in particular, they are thankful they still have their daughter after a successful bone marrow transplant.

Portland mother, Irmalinda De Leon, wants the public to know the incredible impact becoming a donor has.
Her daughter's life was saved two years ago because of a registry called "Be The Match." De Leon continues to spread awareness so people will join and save lives.

Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb declared Nov. 12 as "Be The Match" day at last week's city council meeting.
In attendance with her family was 11-year-old Hilari De Leon.

"Doctors can't even understand how she is still here," Irmalinda De Leon said.

Two years ago, Hilari De Leon got a second chance at life after she found a match for a bone marrow transplant.

"I prayed for strength everyday," her mother said. And so did Hilari. She prayed for God to "help her through this."

She was diagnosed with severe Aplastic Anemia.

"It was pretty hard because at first I wasn't able to walk because my knees would just give out," Hilari De Leon said. "I would try and stand up and I would just fall."

She, along with another survivor, were recognized at the city council meeting and asked the public to join the registry.

"Nobody knows that donating blood could save three lives," Irmalinda De Leon said. "Be The Match -- no one really knows until it happens to you."
The Be The Match website is user-friendly website with facts, frequently asked questions and a quick explanation of how to join.

Irmalinda De Leon said if it wasn't for Sammy Palacios, her daughter would have died.

Palacios was 27 at the time that he donated. He had been on the registry since 2012. And one month before his wedding he was there to save Hilari De Leon's life.

He said after he donated bone marrow, he had a month's worth of back pain. But said it was worth saving a life.

"The fact that it helped save the little girl's life and I mean she is still here two year's after the procedure was done," he said. "Is worth a whole lot more than just a month of pain."

Irmalinda De Leon has been attending city council meetings for the past three years trying to bring awareness for an illness that almost took her daughter away from her.

"Hilari has been such a trooper," she said. "She's never questioned why she's gone through certain things or really cried or complained -- and when she was hurting we knew."

If you want to join the Be The Match registry to become a donor click here: BE THE MATCH REGISTRY