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BE A MATCH: 5-year-old Venice boy needs a life-saving stem cell transplant

Aiden Espinoza was diagnosed with leukemia in June
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Posted at 9:32 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 23:20:19-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A 5-year-old boy from Venice needs a life-saving stem cell transplant.

Aiden Espinoza loves swimming, playing soccer, camping and having fun with his sister.

His parents, James and Erin, first noticed what appeared to be a rash on his legs. They took him to several doctors.

Doctors diagnosed Aiden Espinoza with leukemia in June.

"Never got sick in his life, completely healthy child. It was definitely devastating. You know, just obviously you as a parent, you don’t want this kind of news," said James Espinoza, Aiden's father.

Aiden is hospitalized at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. The door to his hospital room is decorated with dinosaurs. He brought several of his dinosaur toys to the hospital.

Aiden needs three rounds of chemotherapy and a life-saving stem cell transplant.

According to Be the Match, patients with blood cancers like leukemia or other blood disorders, a blood stem cell transplant can be a cure. Blood stem cells from a healthy, genetically matched donor can replace a patient’s diseased cells. It creates a whole new blood and immune system.

According to Be the Match, 70% of all patients don’t have a matching donor in their family so they rely on anonymous individuals who have signed up with the Be The Match Registry as potential donors. The chance of finding a matched donor can range from 29%-79%, depending on ethnicity.

Joining the registry is free and easy to do online. For more information visit Be the Match here.

Be the Match said it only accept members between 18 and 40. Studies show that blood stem cells from younger donors provide better long-term survival rates for our patients.

You may also text "AIDENSTRONG" to 61474 to sign up and order a swab kit.

Aiden's parents are hoping people join the registry. Becoming a potential donor may save Aiden's life or children just like him.

"It’s my kid in this position and there’s more kids in here. If you cannot be his match at least you can be another little kid's match," said James.

The community is also raising money for Aiden and his medical bills. A GoFundMe page has raised more than $11,000.