Bone marrow drive being held for Richmond toddler with rare cancer

Bone marrow drive being held for Richmond toddler with rare cancer
Be the Match encourages people to register to become a donor from home during COVID-19 pandemic (Source: WBTV)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A Richmond toddler battling a rare cancer is in need of a bone marrow donor.

Two-year-old Ihanu Merrill loves his family, Bubble Guppies, Paw Patrol, Toy Story and having fun at the playground.

Ihanu was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML), which is a rare, serious and chronic leukemia that affects children mostly ages four and younger. While is cancer is very rare, organizers say what is even rarer is that there is no match for Ihanu in the global bone marrow donor database.

“Ihanu’s heritage includes Black, Native American, French & Italian blood lines. Bone marrow donations do need to be even more genetically similar than other organ donations so if you share any of those ancestries please come on out and increase his chances for living a full, beautiful life,” a release said.

In an effort to help change his life, a bone marrow drive is being held on Oct. 22 from 3-7 p.m. at 11861 West Broad Street, Richmond, which used to be the Toys R Us across the street from the Short Pump Town Center. The drive will be drive-thru style where saliva samples can be taken and entered for comparison.

Pre-registration is helpful but not required.

The drive is being held in partnership by the Mason’s Toy Box Foundation and Be The Match.

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