GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - On March 5, 2016, 13-year-old Zayen Williams was full of hope. Not because he had a big game coming up at school, and not because he won first place in a contest.
It was because hundreds of people showed up to Edgewater Mall to find out if they could possibly be a bone marrow match. The Gulfport teen was diagnosed with aplastic anemia in 2015. Despite braving multiple transfusions and trips to the hospital, a bone marrow transplant is his only option.
Now 14, Zayen is once again turning to the community for help. Rectitude Lodge #323 in Gulfport is hosting a marrow donor registry drive on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
"Be The Match bone marrow drive is basically to get people to come and out be tested to see if they are a match, but overall to join the registry. You could possibly be a match for anyone," said his mother, Zonetta Williams.
According to BeTheMatch.org, patients are most likely to match someone with shared ancestry. Because African American patients have the lowest odds of finding a match, African American donors are desperately needed to help save lives.
"We definitely need a match for Zayen because at the present time he does not have a match," added Zonetta.
The lodge is located at 1905 32nd Ave. Those who are unable to attend the drive, but would still like to register can sign up online at http://join.bethematch.org/Zayen, referral code Zayen.
For questions or additional information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 205-552-9371.