FRISCO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – E.J. Rose is a 15-year-old student-athlete at Lone Star High School in Frisco.
“Football is his life. Football is his love, says E.J.’s sister, Alysha Rose. “I know he misses it. He’s told me that plenty of times. So when the chance comes, he’s ready.”
E.J. is not only fighting to return to the game he loves. He is battling for his life.
“He’s trying to fight between, I’m being strong and I need to tell my mom, dad and sister that I’m not feeling okay,” Alysha says.
In January, E.J. was diagnosed with two types of Leukemia. Without the blood of another human being, E.J’s life is in danger.
“His cancer was progressing so fast that they had to use my mother to do his bone marrow transplant,” Alysha says. Mom is only a 6 out of 10 match. Typically they are looking for a 10 out of 10 match. But with E.J.’s cancer progressing, the way that it was, we could not hold off any longer.”
Only about 23% of African Americans like E.J., are likely to find a match.
So E.J. remains isolated, in a Dallas-area hospital for at least the next three months, waiting to see if his body will accept his mother’s stem cells.
In the meantime, E.J. remains confident he’ll win his bout with cancer.
Alysha says, “The day after he finished his transplant, he told my dad, we got this. We’re gonna get through it.”
A blood stem cell transplant is the only cure for so many people battling blood and immune disorders.
Be The Match plays a role in every blood stem cell transplant in the United States.
To help E.J. and Be The Match, you can become a registered blood stem cell donor, fundraise and donate.