OAKLAND, Calif. – An emotional embrace was shared between 12-year-old Mailyna Mayate and the woman who saved her life.
“I’m just so happy to meet her,” said Mayate. “It’s so great that she can come out here and donate her bone marrow to me.”
One year ago, Kristine Sydney donated her bone marrow to cure Mayate’s rare blood disorder.
Until today, the two only met through face time but thanks to the Asian American Donor Program (AADP) they were finally able to meet face to face.
“That was one of the happiest moments of my life to her for the first time and now to see you in person is amazing,” said Sydney.
Sydney signed up as a donor on a whim after seeing posters by the high school she works at.
“I didn’t think I was eligible because I am not eligible to donate blood because of my travel history but I went and signed up,” said Sydney.
Finding a match is rare. So when Mailyna’s mother, Alima Armas, was contacted about a potential match they were very excited.
“When we actually found out that she was willing to reach and have contact with us I was just in tears,” said Armas. “I think I re-wrote an email several times just crying every time and when I finally hit send and closed my laptop my phone rang and it was Kristine.”
A recipient and a donor must be of the same ethnicity and according to AADP; Filipino donors only make up less than one-half-percent of the national registry.
“I really encourage everybody to sign up for the registry and think about the impact you can make in someone’s life,” said Armas.
“I’m overwhelmed with happiness,” said Sydney. “To all the Filipinos listening to this – it’s simple to help a child in need.”
AADP and countless numbers of bone marrow recipients are counting on more Filipinos to be part of the registry and if you are in between the ages of 18 and 44 then by a simple act of swabbing the inside of your cheek can save a life similar to Mayate.