Baylor Frederickson and how some Asian Ethnic Groups have Extra Difficulty Finding Bone Marrow Matches

7 year old Baylor Frederickson needs a bone marrow transplant.   If he was purely from one Asian group, it would be hard enough, but since one of his parents is not Asian, it’s even more difficult to find a match.  I found this article (and others) that says some Asian ethnic groups naturally have that extra difficulty because of a long history of racial mixing.  Filipinos fall into this category, and I can see how this can be the case just by looking at my own kids.

The Philippines was colonized by by Spain for more than three centuries, followed by another half century by the United States.   Many Filipinos, like my Wife, have a lot of Spanish blood.   She is very light skinned as is Number One Son.  When he was an baby, people would ask her if his father was white, a contrast to his sister who is much darker.  Even before the Spanish arrived in the Philippines, there were interactions and intermarriages with ethnic Chinese who traded and settled in the area.    Ryan Manansala, who also needs a bone marrow transplant, is Filipino but also has Spanish and Chinese ancestry.  He had no family matches or matches with other Filipinos.  He also had no matches with Spanish or Chinese people.  Filipino American Christine Pechera was more lucky.  She had no matches within the US but had a match from someone from Hong Kong.

The best way to help Baylor and Ryan and other people who might need a transplant is to be in the donor registry.  The Asian American Donor Program has a list of times and places in the SF Bay Area where they are conducting drives to get Asian Americans to sign up to be in the bone marrow registry.  In Southern California, Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches conducts registry drives.

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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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