High School Football Standout Needs Match for Bone Marrow Transplant

A bone marrow drive was held Saturday in Oakland.

A 17-year-old honor student and star athlete at an East Bay high school is hoping for a Hail Mary to save his life.

Darryl Aikens was diagnosed with Leukemia two years ago. The treatment has worked and doctors thought he beat cancer. But now the cancer is back and doctors said a bone marrow transplant is needed in order for him to survive.

"Got a call from the doctor and said he had more cancer cells in his spine," said Tierra Barker, his mother.

Aikens is a football standout at McClymonds High School in Oakland. Finding a bone marrow transplant match is hard, especially for African Americans.

Out of the 14 million donors on the Be The Match national registry, only 7 percent are African American.

Aikens' grandmother has spent time passing out fliers urging people to take part in a bone marrow drive on Saturday at Frick Middle School in Oakland.

Details of the event are provided below:

To be eligible to join, new registrants must be between the ages of 18-44, in good general health, and willing to donate to any patient in need. When matches are made, most donations are done through apheresis and no surgery is required.

Be The Match covers all associated costs and a donor’s insurance is never charged. Those who cannot attend the drive in person, or live out of the area, should register online at https://join.bethematch.org/TeamDarryl and a cheek swab kit will be sent by mail, along with a pre-paid return envelope.

For more information please contact Hannah Jacobs at hannah.jacobs@nmdp.org or 510-381-3963. 

WHEN: Saturday, April 2nd
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
WHERE: Frick Middle School
2845 64th Ave
Oakland, CA 94605

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