Be the match drive to support local boy with severe disease

Be the match drive to support local boy with severe disease
Zayen Williams and his family held signs to draw attention to the event. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Zayen Williams and his family held signs to draw attention to the event. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Zayen Williams, 13, is looking for a bone marrow donor. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Zayen Williams, 13, is looking for a bone marrow donor. (Image Source: WLOX News)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX)

On a busy Saturday, amongst the hustle and bustle of shoppers at Edgewater Mall, 13-year-old Zayen Williams and his family watched as dozens of people got their mouths swabbed.

Why? To see if they could be Zayen's bone marrow donor.

"It's great, great Very emotional, so I'm doing real good today without crying, but it's fabulous. Wonderful," said Zayen's mother Zonetta Williams.

The Gulfport Central Middle School student was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia in December after noticing chronic fatigue and heart palpitations. His basketball and football coach, Cory Lombard, has been supporting him since the diagnosis.

"I just wanted to be here for him. It's been only a couple of days since Christmas break that he's actually been healthy enough to come to school, and so giving a chance to come give him a hug, to spend some time with him, talk to him," said Corey Lombard.

The donation event was actually hosted by the USM Long Beach's Student Nurses Association. President Kimberly Lacap says they hosted a Be The Match drive last semester, but it wasn't for anyone in particular.

"You know, people see an actual cancer patient or an actual anemia patient, or whatever the deal may be with them, and it just makes it that much more personal," said Kimberly Lacap. "Makes them want to come out more," 

Donors like Christina Verduzco say it's a gift to be able to help someone in need.

"It's scary. You know, you think about if you would need it, if your baby would need it how you would just be desperate for help as well. So, you got to do what you got to do to help people so that's what's important," said Verduzco

In total, 89 people came out to the event.

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