YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Every year approximately 18,000 people in our Country are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses where a bone marrow transplant or blood stem cell transplant can save their lives. Yuma Proving Ground’s assistant fire chief is now searching himself.
Daniel Manning started working at YPG last December. Just weeks later, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Myelofibrosis.
The 44-year-old air force veteran believes his years of firefighting caused cancer.
Manning is undergoing chemotherapy and currently still working on the base.
Bethematch.org is now assisting in the race to find him a stem cell match.
"So I'm Italian and Irish and it's a little bit more challenging to find somebody specifically that identifies with my descent," the assistant fire chief said. "I've been helping people for 25 years in the fire service so this is just awareness if people do need help."
Close to 80% of transplants do not require surgery.
The testing process, to see if you are a match, is simple.
Lindsey Couts represents “Be the Match” for the state of Arizona.
“When we do have people joining our registry we want them to know if it may be for this specific patient. It also could help someone else in the world as well so we like to say if your tissue twin ever was to get sick, that's when we would call you to donate and it really is life-changing,” Couts explained.
A candidate simply swabs the inside of their cheeks and sends the kit back to "Be the Match."
“It's really important that we find them the best match we're essentially taking that malfunctioning immune system and replacing it with a donor cell of those properly functioning stem cells where we can either, you know hopefully fix the disease that they're battling,” Couts said.
Request a kit and once you get it, simply swab the inside of your cheeks and send the kit back to bethematch.org.
“It gets a little bit more complex because we don't want to have enough people on the registry so our health disparity ranges from 23% to 77% chance of finding a match based on one's ethnic background, and ethnic background is, is a role in this because we are tissue typing so kind of genetics, in a way,” she added.
The Manning family has also set up a GoFundMe account to help with medical bills.