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Olathe third-grader needs stem cell transplant

Emma Hall knows her priorities. Ask the Olathe third-grader what’s most important to her and she’ll tell you church, family and gymnastics and, oh, soccer. She makes sure to get that in.

But one priority she didn’t count on having was finding a donor for the rare blood condition she’s been diagnosed with. Aplastic Anemia is so rare most people have never heard of it. Her condition means her body has stopped producing enough blood cells and she desperately needs a stem cell transplant.

Since her diagnosis, Emma has been unable to participate in sports and regular school life due to frequent hospital visits. Her treatments and transfusions leave her feeling tired and unable to do the things she loves.

According to national nonprofit DKMS, more than 20,000 patients with blood cancer need a stem cell transplant every year. That would possible except for Emma it is even more rate in that she’s one just 70 patients each year that must rely on the generosity of a stranger will be a compatible donor.

Together, Emma’s family and DKMS are holding a drive to register people to become potential donors.

Emma was adopted, and as an African-American, her Caucasian family will likely not be a match for donation. On top of that, DKMS says the African-American community is severely underrepresented in the stem cell registry, making it even harder to find a compatible donor for Emma.

Anyone in good health standing between the ages of 18 and 55 is invited to attend and register. All it takes is a consent form and a cheek swab to learn if you could be a match for Emma.

Anyone wishing to help can attend the drive on Saturday at Life Mission Church, 2400 North 81st Street, Kansas City, Kansas. The drive runs from 1 to 4 p.m.