Local teen will receive bone marrow transplant after years of wa - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Local teen will receive bone marrow transplant after years of waiting

Zayen Williams is receiving a special gift this year, one that money can't buy. After two years of waiting, he now has a bone marrow donor.(Image Source: WLOX News) Zayen Williams is receiving a special gift this year, one that money can't buy. After two years of waiting, he now has a bone marrow donor.(Image Source: WLOX News)
Zayen and his family have partnered with ‘Be The Match’ to host several bone marrow drives hoping to find a match for Zayen. (Image Source: WLOX News) Zayen and his family have partnered with ‘Be The Match’ to host several bone marrow drives hoping to find a match for Zayen. (Image Source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Zayen Williams is receiving a special gift this year, one that money can't buy.

After two years of waiting, he now has a bone marrow donor.

“Great, that's really all I can say because next year I'm going to be able to play football and basketball. That's really what I'm ready for,” said Zayen Williams.

Zayen is a soft-spoken Gulfport High School sophomore. In 2015, he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a disease where the body stops producing red blood cells. The cure is a bone marrow transplant.

“Throughout these two years, he's never actually really been sick. He's been sick, but his spirits have never. I've never seen him cry. He's never said I'm tired. I don't want to do this,” said Zonetta Williams.

Zayen and his family have partnered with ‘Be The Match’ to host several bone marrow drives hoping to find a match for Zayen.

At the last drive in September, Good Morning America Anchor Robin Roberts paid him a surprise visit, encouraging him to stay in good spirits while he waited for a match. His mom says it's been scary at times not knowing when or if he would get one.

“They told us at the doctor's office it was very rare to find a match for African-Americans. So, out of all the registries, I don't know what the count is, but he only had two donors,” said Zonetta Williams.

Zayen doesn't know where his donors were found, but they are not local.

He will undergo the transplant at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. First, his mom says he will have weeks of intense chemotherapy and testing.

“Once everything comes back okay, then they will start with the chemo therapy like a couple of days. Once he does complete the chemotherapy treatment, then they will give him the cells,” said Zonetta Williams.

Though Zayen is a man of few words, he says he was confident he would get a match, and is looking forward to what's to come.

“I'm just ready to get it over with. I'm just being honest,” said Zayen.

Williams says she will have to leave two of her children in South Mississippi with family, while she and her mother are in Memphis with Zayen. Doctors tell her they will most likely be there for about six months, and he will need to be monitored for years to come.

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