The five-year-old Filipino American from Dallas was on his fourth day of kindergarten when he was suddenly sent home from school.
His father Keith recounted, “Jude had a very high fever. We had never seen that before. He started breaking out with spots all over his face, and on his legs. You saw bruising on his legs.”
Jude was taken to the hospital and soon his family was told the devastating news that their little boy suffers from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
“It’s every parent’s nightmare to see your child, to hear that your child is sick and you don’t know if he’ll survive it or not,” said Boots, Jude’s mother.
Jude’s leukemia became aggressive and he needed a marrow transplant. The good news, his brother Joshua, was a match.
“When I found out that I was a match, I realized that I could help him in a much bigger way, so I’m really thankful that I was able to,” Joshua said.
Jude was cancer-free for five years. He became an active kid again, even joining a basketball league and winning a fourth grade class spelling bee.
But his leukemia relapsed. And now, he needs help finding a marrow match from a complete stranger.
Kristian Salcedo of the Asian American Donor Program (AADP) said there is an extreme shortage of multi-ethnic donors in the registry.
“Only about one percent of Filipinos are in the registry. How many of them are half Filipino or half Caucasian? Probably less than that. Jude’s chances of finding a match are much more difficult. So it’s really urgent that we have these mixed ethnic people to join the registry — Filipinos or Caucasians or mixed,” he said.
He said saving the lives of kids like Jude starts with a simple step during registration.
“All you need to do is a simple cheek swab. All you need to do is swab the four corners of your cheek with four Q-tips. We’ll submit that after signing a consent form. This process only takes 8-10 minutes. You can do this contacting the Asian American Donor Program at 1 (800) 593-6667 FREE or visiting www.aadp.org,” he said.
Jude’s parents said that when filling out information on www.bethematch.org (operated by the National Marrow Donor Program), potential donors may enter the name “Team Jude” and this will cut the two-month processing time for Jude in half.
The now 10-year-old Filipino American is hoping for a miracle.
“I’m really excited to be able to do what I used to do and just be like a normal kid. I am extremely hopeful and positive that I will find a match,” he said.
Jude’s bone marrow transplant time frame is in August.