Filipino diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in urgent need of bone marrow

DALY CITY, CA — Nine years ago, Desimond Viray was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia.

He has treated his cancer through oral drugs — but was recently diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension due to his medication.

“So now here I am trying to continue to survive and been told that although there’s a lot of medications for patients that are dealing with CML, in my case because of that pulmonary hypertension, unfortunately, there’s not a lot of options available.”

The Virays recently received good news that Desimond’s new medication is working — however, they are still looking for a bone marrow donor.

Desimond most likely needs to match with a Filipino donor, and Filipinos only make up 0.4 percent of the national registry.

“We’re just hoping the timing could be right because we have been close to death a couple times now. When he was first diagnosed with leukemia they said he was days away. When he got found with the pulmonary hypertension they said he could have been minutes, hours away from a heart attack that could have taken his life.”

Despite the constant battle, Desimond is determined to survive.

“My kids are the ones that keep me motivated because…I honestly don’t want to leave them whatsoever. But I have to stay strong. Because I have to show them that, I’m not going to let cancer beat me.”

The Viray’s have teamed up with the Asian American Donor Program to find a match — which is working to make it easier for donors to join the national registry.

“We have a text code or QR code that you can scan with your camera, and you just fill out the form and they send the kit to your house. You could swab your cheeks in the comfort of your own home.”

The Viray’s are still waiting on the test results of family members but urge all people to sign up on the registry to help others in need of a donor.

“It would be really awesome if more and more people would get out there and do the registry. Honestly, because you don’t know if you are ever going to get the call back that you’re the person someone needs. But what if you are? What if you could save a life?”

Donors must be between 18 and 44 years old to register — anyone interested can text “CURE-117” to 61474.

For more information, visit www.aadp.org.

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