Most high school seniors are making plans for college and looking forward to the future. But there’s only one thing on Dez’s mind—beating cancer.

“With the cancer taking over, Dez hasn’t been able to do much since her freshmen year,” said Monica, her stepmother. “Pretty much, she hasn’t had a high school experience at all.”

For the last two years, Dez has been fighting familial acute myeloid leukemia, a hereditary blood cancer. Her father survived the same cancer 12 years ago when he received a stem cell transplant from a sibling.

Now, Dez needs the same treatment. To receive a marrow or stem cell transplant, she must find a matching donor—someone who has the same genetic set of immune system as she does.

Because her siblings may carry the hereditary gene that causes this form of leukemia, she may have to find her donor on the Be The Match Registry, a national database of potential marrow donors.

Patients are more likely to match with a donor from the same ethnic or racial background, but only 10% of the current registry is of Hispanic descent. This leaves Hispanic patients, like Dez, with a lower chance of finding their match.

“Even if it’s not a perfect match for her, it is for someone else,” her stepmother said. “And you can save someone’s life.”

The more people who join the registry, the higher chance Dez and patients like her have of finding a match.

Join the Be The Match Registry in honor of Dez by texting NuecesCounty to 61474.