Father vows to advocate for Pinoy marrow donors after son’s death

SAN JOSE, Calif. – It’s still incomprehensible for Ryan Manansala’s family and friends how a person who seemingly loved life so much could lose it as such a young age.

“He was a good mentor and made a difference in all of our friend’s lives,” said by one of Ryan’s friends during his viewing. “Ryan was passionate, hardworking, kind, and inspiring.”

Ryan’s loved-ones recently gathered at Oak Hill Memorial in San Jose, Calif. to remember a brave kababayans whose difficult journey began two years ago…when Ryan was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia but one thing can be said about this 30-year old Pinoy he fought to live.

He desperately tried to find a bone marrow donor. But he couldn’t find a match.

His other option to survive was a cord blood transplant. His family sold their home to pay for this expensive procedure.

After a successful operation, Ryan and his family thought the worse was behind them until a year later they found out that Ryan relapsed.

Ryan had to hope against hope that this time he would find a bone marrow donor between the ages of 18-44 and was part or full Filipino.

But the odds of finding a match for him seemed next to impossible.

According to the National Donor Registry, out of the 10.5 million donors, less than half of one percent are Filipinos and Pacific Islanders.

Richard, Ryan’s father, stopped working to take care of his son on a full-time basis.

He witnessed the lowest points in his son’s life when Ryan realized that no matter how big the Filipino population was in the U.S. there were just not a lot of people willing to become donors.

“What I know [about] Filipinos is we have the so-called bayanihan meaning you help together to pull something and make the job easier,” said Richard. “But it seems to be that it’s not really happening.”

Richard says that even though his son is gone, he will continue to advocate for all Filipinos who are in need of bone marrow donors.

“I’m trying to outreach to Filipinos that they should be aware,” said Richard. “We should be aware of saving lives of others.”

The Asian American Donor Program which helped Ryan and many others like him will continue to assist the family by setting up a memorial to help the Manansala family pay for funeral arrangements and past medical bills.

Ryan’s father and the Asian American Donor Program hope to continue to sign up as many Filipinos to help future kababayans who will need a bone marrow donor.
To register to become a donor or to find out more information, you can visit the Asian American Donor Program at www.AADP.org.

You can contact Rommel Conclara at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.

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