UPDATE | 1-year-old Emilie Meza has thousands of people ready to help her get a bone marrow transplant. In just five days, 3,500 people have applied to be a donor, and now, the search is on to find the perfect match for the St. Petersburg toddler.
Marc Silver with "Be the Match" spoke to ABC Action News on Monday morning about the search for a donor and how Emilie's story is helping create awareness to the more than 14,000 patients on transplant lists right now.
People from across the world have reached out to help Emilie. Emilie's family wants everyone to know this is not just for Emilie, but for the thousands of others who need a match.
To join the marrow registry, please visit: https://join.bethematch.org/fl
ORIGINAL STORY | A mother is desperately trying to find the perfect bone marrow match for her 1-year-old daughter, who has acute myeloid leukemia.
Emilie Meza is at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. She celebrated her birthday last week.
"We have good days. We have bad days," Roxie Meza, Emilie's mother, said.
Roxie Meza said she spends most of her time at the hospital.
"It's very hard because sometimes there's nothing you can do. There's nothing you can do and Emilie is so little. She can't tell me what she's feeling. She can't tell me mom my bones hurt," Roxie Meza said.
Roxie Meza said doctors diagnosed her daughter with cancer at 9 months.
"As a mom you have to keep it together. You have to be strong all the time, but I don't want to be strong. I want to be home. I want to be home with my baby in her crib," Roxie Meza said.
Emilie Meza needs a bone marrow transplant. Her parents are half matches.
"A lot of people ask why don't they take your half and his half and put it together to make a whole for Emilie, but it's not that simple," Roxie Meza said.
The Meza family has received a large amount of support from the community to find the perfect match for Emilie. They held a drive Tuesday evening; people got tested, using a swab kit next to the Florida Celtic Soccer club field.
"It's great knowing that I am helping her. It's bitter sweet because we know we (have) limited time," Kristi Harris said.
Unexpected strangers, who are now friends, and family are doing everything possible for Emilie, knowing they have 3 weeks to find a donor.
"Just that one match is all it takes," Harris said.
Roxie Meza said she is thankful and blessed so many people are trying to help save her daughter's life.
"Just with everything they've been so great. So we pray that we find somebody that is a match for Emilie and it will all be because of all of their help. They've been such a blessing," Roxie Meza said.
Drives for Emilie have been held:
- Wednesday, April 5 at 3400 Cortez Rd in Bradenton at 5:00 p.m.
- Friday, April 7 at 3515 30th Avenue North in St. Petersburg from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Saturday, April 8 at:
- Sunday, April 9 at:
Future drives for Emilie will be held:
- Monday, April 10 at 600 Missouri Ave N, Largo (Dunkin' Donuts) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
- Saturday, April 15 at 298 Havendale Blvd. in Auburndale (Southern Technical College) from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
- Kits available at: 8802 Rocky Creek Dr #108 in Tampa (Green Mommy Store)
If you would like to get tested to determine whether you are a donor, you can call Kristi Harris at (727) 204-5095.
For more information about Emilie Meza, go to their GoFundMe page.
Meza said doctors have search for a match, but have not found one yet.
If you would like to join the marrow registry, go to https://join.bethematch.org/fl.