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Local leukemia patient inspires community to join marrow registry

As communities grapple with the surge in COVID-19 cases, one family is fighting to save their daughter from another heart-wrenching disease—leukemia.

In April, 13-year-old Adeline Jansson was diagnosed with a rare form of the blood cancer acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Now her family is working with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, a subsidiary of San Antonio-based BioBridge Global, to add potential donors to the Be The Match Registry®, a national database that connects potential donors to patients in need of a stem cell or marrow transplant.

Despite the pandemic, the Janssons have encouraged more than 140 people to join the registry to help Adeline and patients like her. They even have put cheek swab kits outside her home, inviting several people to come and complete the kits in her driveway and drop them in the mailbox to join the marrow donor registry.

“Her doctor told us, ‘Leukemia changes you, regardless,’” said Katie Jansson, Adeline’s mother. “’You are changed.’ We’re going to be changed for the better and do what we can to inspire other people to help. Seeing that ripple of goodness in a time when there’s so much conflict has been amazing.”

For every 430 people who join the Be The Match Registry®, one will go on to donate marrow or stem cells to a patient in need. In order to receive a transplant, patients must find a matching donor—someone who has the same genetic markers of the immune system as they do.

Like many patients with blood cancers and blood diseases, Adeline does not have a match in her family. Instead, she must rely on an unrelated donor from the Be The Match Registry®.

“Even if you aren’t my match, you can be somebody else’s,” Adeline said. “You could save more people’s lives.”

Individuals age 18-44 and in general good health can join the marrow donor registry in support of Adeline by visiting join.BeTheMatch.org/Adeline. To learn more about the marrow and stem cell donations, click here.