‘Be The Match’ for 2 month old who needs bone marrow transplant; register for free to become a donor

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Can you be the match?

Many in Hawaii showed up to SHOPO headquarters on Saturday, Dec. 4, to see if they could be a hero to two-month-old Seeley Borges, who is battling leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant.

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On Oct. 25, Hayley and Shawn Borges noticed something was wrong with their newborn daughter, Seeley. She had a low-grade fever and was vomiting, so they took her to the hospital.

“After drawing some labs, they found out that her white blood cell count was extremely elevated. So, we got Medevaced to Honolulu Kapiolani. Our daughter has not left that hospital room since she got Medevaced,” Hayley explained.

Seeley was diagnosed with leukemia, and she has been undergoing chemotherapy since.

Her parents hope that once her treatments are done, she will find her match for the bone marrow transplant.

“The whole process by the time she gets out of the hospital, she’ll be about nine months old, and she went in at about three weeks. So, it’s a long process; the less time we have to wait the better,” Hayley added.

Finding that match is not easy. In fact, a match is about one in 430 people who register to be a donor. This is why the police union SHOPO hosted the Borges Ohana at its headquarters Saturday for a drive-thru registry.

“We have two options: make sure of COVID restrictions they can stay in their car, and we have our volunteers come out and do the registration with them or walk them to the table, and basically after they’re done registering, it’s a cheek swab and then pau,” said Don Faumuina, SHOPO State Board secretary.

So far, 700 people have signed up online to be a donor for Seeley, and 55 more registered on Saturday.

“If you are a potential match, Be The Match Hawaii would contact the donor, we would make sure they’re still willing and able to donate, then they’d have to go through a physical exam to be able to donate,” stated Nainoa Wong, Be the Match Hawaii Community Relations Manager.

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For those who would like to participate and be the cure, Be The Match Hawaii is offering free registration here.

“Until she was diagnosed, that we saw her go through blood transfusions and platelets and then eventually needing a bone marrow donor, we were really motivated to get people to sign up and sign up ourselves,” Hayley said.

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