After global effort, bone marrow donor found for Baby Mateo

Yahoo! News
Yahoo News
Baby Mateo finds a donor
Mateo Schell at age 3 months.

The following story has been translated from Yahoo Spain and is a follow-up to this story from August, chronicling one man's quest to find a bone-marrow donor for his son, Mateo.

Baby Mateo has found a bone marrow donor to save his life.

His family's desperate call for a donor has been answered, and the 10-month-old Spanish child suffering from juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia will undergo an operation in April expected to cure his disease.

"We feel very pleased, not only us, because we had many people who were mobilized and were expecting something like that," the baby's father, Eduardo Schell, told Yahoo Spain.

The Schell's community greeted the news with joy. Mateo, or Matthew in English, had a 1 percent chance of finding a donor, but a worldwide campaign started last August to find donors for him and other leukemia patients around the world helped make significant progress. The Schell family worked with Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide to solicit volunteers for compatibility tests in hopes of matching people in need.

Schell said he knew a number of donors offered to be tested, but says the process is not simple.

"Doctors told us it was necessary to make a preliminary study, because it is difficult to find a 100 percent compatibility, and they had to consider what donor may fit better with Mateo," Schell said.

While Schell said he is thrilled to have found a donor for his son, the family still faces difficult challenges.

"The operation will not be simple, because you have to prepare and some defenses must be taken," he said. Additionally, postoperative recovery for children can be labor-intensive, with daily, weekly and monthly checkups. "In an ideal scenario, Mateo should recover in a month and a half, but he can suffer relapses," Schell said.

"It is a time of celebration, but there are still many kids who do not yet have bone marrow, and we will continue to fight for them," he said.

In the middle of the global effort to find a donor for Mateo, the family heard of at least eight people who were tested, and found they were compatible with other patients — and were able to save their lives. "It's brutal, [but] we will continue working every day," Schell said.

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