Arlington community coming together to find bone marrow match

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by JIM DOUGLAS

WFAA

Posted on July 20, 2012 at 12:14 AM

ARLINGTON - Ethan Tepera, 13, is fighting for his life against a rare form of leukemia, and he's getting lots of help.

"Chronic myelogenous leukemia," Tepera slowly clarified. "You'll probably want to check the pronunciation."

Ethan plays football for Grace Preparatory Academy. Last October, he got a concussion and it just kept getting worse.

"He was becoming lethargic, and he just didn't have that same drive that Ethan has always had since he was born," said mom, Melissa Tepera.

Three weeks after the injury, the diagnosis came. Then chemotherapy and hope, then disappointment.

By mid-December, it went into his spine," Melissa Tepera said. "So then his body became immune to the first oral chemo that he was on."

Now the frustrating search for a bone marrow donor continues.

His two little brothers aren't a match, and an international search has so far been unsuccessful. So Saturday "Team Tepera" will hold the fourth donor drive, hoping to find a match and praying for one. His mother said many more Hispanics are needed to sign up as potential marrow donors.

"They're out there," Melissa Tepera said. "God already has them preordained and handpicked, selected, and we're just patiently waiting."

For potential donors, it just takes a cheek swab.

If this effort does not produce a match, and he's not cured, Ethan says maybe someone else will be.

The drive is Saturday at Grace Prep Academy (3300 Interstate 20 West, just west of Copper Street) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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