John Faro Vitale might seem like a normal six-year-old boy.
However, the St. Bernadette first grader – who loves playing soccer and watching football – is tackling a serious hurdle, a rare blood disease called Fanconi Anemia.
Unfortunately, because of Vitale’s rare bone marrow type, doctors have yet to find a match for the transplant he needs.
“It’s a very rare genetic disorder and without a bone marrow transplant, he’s hugely likely to have bone marrow failure and he’s highly likely to develop leukemia,” said family friend Victoria Iocolano. “It also affects other parts of his body such as his kidneys and his thyroid, and it makes him more susceptible to other types of cancer so it’s a very psychologically demanding disorder, and he’s only six.”
To help the six-year-old find a bone marrow match, St. Bernadette School (1313 83rd Street) will host a donor drive on Friday, February 5.
The Marrow Donor Registry Drive accepts donors between the ages of 18 and 44. Through the Be the Match Registry—a bone marrow registry that includes nearly 12.5 million volunteers ready to be a donor—patients diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases could be saved.
During the upcoming event, every $100 raised will help add a donor to the registry.
“What a difference you can have on my life if you are my match,” John says on a flyer for the event. “If not for me, I am sure there are others that will benefit from your generosity.”
The drive will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. at the school on Friday, February 5. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.