New Jersey 12-year-old searching for life saver in San Antonio area

12-year-old searching for bone marrow

SAN ANTONIO -- A 12-year-old from New Jersey is looking to San Antonio for help.

Briana Lopez is battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) for the second time and needs a bone marrow transplant.

On Sunday, her family organized registry drives in their hometowns across the nation. One was held on the northeast side of Bexar County.

In a video posted to her Facebook page, Bri Strong, Lopez explained to the public what it's like after donating bone marrow.

"When you wake up you'll be a little sore like if you went to the gym," said Lopez. "You'll be a little sore. If I can do it, you can do it."

Lopez was diagnosed with AML last year. She spent eight months in the hospital after surgery, chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.

"[Briana] has a great personality. She's very spiritual and very outgoing. She's 12 year's old and she's going on 25 or 26," said Lopez's godfather, Roland Rodriguez, who hosted Sunday's bone marrow registration drive with Be The Match.

As Lopez was trying to recover, she relapsed in November. Now, she's on another search for a life saver.

"Basically it's cancer in the bones, but usually it only happens to older people," said Rodriguez. "This is life-threatening. We need a match, like, yesterday."

Sunday, Lopez's family held donation drives in San Antonio, Miami and Fort Lee, New Jersey.

The San Antonio bone marrow registration drive was held at St. John Neumann Catholic Church.

Strangers flooded in the Family Center to lend a helping hand.

"Just a couple of mouth swabs down, up and on both sides," said Christopher Elizondo, a parishioner at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, who registered Sunday.

In just five minutes, people took a few mouth swabs and jotted down personal information to submit to Gencure's Be The Match registry.

"I just felt like it was important for us to give to someone who needs help," said Annalysa Elizondo, who also registered Sunday.

If a match is found, the person will receive a phone call.

"There are many more kids and other people with cancer," said Rodriguez. "So if there's not a match for her here, maybe there's a match for somebody else and we can save their life."

If you weren't able to make the registry drive, you can still help.

You can join the bone marrow donor registry online for Briana at join.bethematch.org/bristrong. Enter the promo code "bristrong."

If you'd like to make a monetary donation to the family, visit www.gofundme.com/bristrongteambri.

For additional information about the bone marrow registry, visit www.bethematch.org or www.gencure.org. You can also call Gencure's Community Engagement Lead, Jon Hudson, at 210-731-5555 ext. 1623.

If you decide to get involved, don't forget to post to social media using the hashtag #BriStrong.

Donors must be between the ages of 18 to 44.

"It will only take five minutes of your time, and you could save a life," said Rodriguez. "You could be a hero."

© 2017 KENS-TV


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