Grandfather hosting event to find stem cell match for his grandson

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A nine-year-old boy from Chillicothe with a rare blood condition needs a stem cell match.

Don Lee said his grandson Oskar was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia in April, just one day after his ninth birthday. It’s a condition where the bone marrow does not make enough blood cells.

Saturday, Lee is hosting an event at Abbas Grotto in East Peoria’s Ault Park to find a stem cell match for his grandson. Be The Match will be conducting on-site cheek swabs at the event to add to the organization’s donor registry.

Everything kicks off at 11 A.M. with a motorcycle ride from Skwurt Inn in Peoria to the event location at Abbas Grotto in East Peoria. The benefit is from 12 to 10 P.M. with music, food, drinks, vendors, and more than 50 raffle items.

From 12 to 5 P.M. parents can purchase $6 wristbands for kids to participate in carnival games to win prizes. There will also be a magician and face painting.

Maureen Leuba, a volunteer with Be the Match, said her own life was saved this way.

“Fortunately, a young girl out in California joined the registry at a donor drive similar to what Oskar’s going to have on Saturday,” Leuba said. “The more donors we can get on the registry, the better.”

Lee said he hopes to find a match at the event so his grandson can have fun again.

“Hopefully somebody will come forward tomorrow, we’ll find a match, and hopefully next summer he’ll be able to go fishing again, and canoeing, and going out and playing with other kids and just having a normal life,” he said.

Lee further said he wants to bring awareness about the rare condition, which affects 600 to 900 people per year, according to the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation.

For those who cannot make it to the event, but still want to see if they are Oskar’s match, text TEAMOSKAR to 61474.

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