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A Soldier Receives a Spider Bite in Afghanistan and they Find Leukemia

Miguel Leyva Campos grew up with his family on Catalina Island, just a one-hour ferry ride from Long Beach, CA.

He enlisted in the Army after High School and was eventually deployed to Afghanistan.  After a year in Afghanistan, and only one week before returning home, Miguel was bitten by a spider. 

Miguel told us that after the bite, he was noticeable tired and nauseous. He had unexplained body pain and he often felt faint. Was this from an Afghan spider bite?

Upon returning to the U.S., he mentioned his symptoms to the doctors during his post-deployment medical check. In 2013, after testing, Miguel was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It had nothing to do with the spider.

He went through chemo while attending Long Beach City College. Over time, his body went into remission and he began to feel strong again. Tests showed no evidence of disease.  He eventually became employed by harbor patrol and his life progressed.

In April of 2019, memories of that spider bite came back to him. Miguel became nauseous and tired again. Blood tests revealed that his cancer had returned.

He is now back on chemo treatments and doctors have recommended a stem cell transplant.

Miguel’s Next Battle

His next battle is not on the fields of some far off land.  Miguel is fighting to find a cure, right here on U.S. soil. He is searching for a matching blood stem cell donor.

Despite everyone being tested, there is no match in his family. Of all the cancer patients in need of a stem cell transplant, 70% turn to Be The Match and the National Bone Marrow Registry. They need to find an unrelated donor. 

Miguel’s doctors have been checking the Bone Marrow Registry and there is no matching donor for him.

Not yet.

His battle with leukemia will be difficult enough. But because he is Hispanic, this veteran has a lower chance of finding a matching donor. There simply aren’t enough Hispanics and Latinos on the Registry.

Hispanic cancer patients only have a 46% chance of finding a matching donor. White patients have a 77% chance of finding their donor.

We Are Here to Help

The Icla da Silva Foundation is joining Miguel in his battle with Leukemia.  We are the largest recruitment center for Be The Match and we focus on adding more diversity to the registry. Our mission is to ensure that all patients have a greater chance of finding their matching donor.

You can help us in this fight.  Include yourself on the Registry by clicking the link below. You will set up an account, answer some basic questions and then you will receive a swab kit in the mail.

Upon returning the kit, you will be included on the Registry.  Only 1 out of every 430 people who register, end up matching a patient in need…so we must add as many potential life-savers as we can.

Join us in this latest battle. We need to find a match for Miguel.

join the registry – help miguel

 

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Rhynett’s 2nd Battle With Cancer

More than 25 years ago, Rhynett Chatman was diagnosed with cancer. She fought that battle and was fortunate to survive.

Now she is fighting cancer once again.

In May of 2017, she was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). MDS is a form of blood cancer which prohibits the body from producing enough healthy blood cells in the bone marrow.

Rhynett told us that she always felt tired, and she lost a considerable amount of weight. Despite chemotherapy and numerous blood transfusions, there was no improvement in her condition.

Most Recent Diagnosis

Recently, her diagnosis was changed to Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). There was a definitive overproduction of immature blood cells in her bone marrow. AML quickly gets worse if it is not treated immediately.

Doctors advised Rhynett that she would need a bone marrow transplant in order to survive.

Searching for a Match

For African American patients with various blood cancers like leukemia, finding a matching bone marrow donor is a difficult task. The chances of finding a match on the national registry are only 23%. There simply aren’t enough Black donors on the registry. For comparison, White patients have a 77% chance of finding a matching donor on the registry.

We are trying to change this unfortunate fact.

The Icla da Silva Foundation is the largest recruitment center for the Be the Match registry. Our efforts are focused specifically on adding more diversity to the list of potential donors.

We are trying to help Rhynett find a matching donor by holding donor drives. We share her story, explain the need, and provide details on joining the registry and donating stem cells if you match a patient in need.

Anyone between the ages of 18-44 can join the registry at no cost.  If you match a patient, they don’t even use your insurance to perform the transplant.  Be the Match takes care of everything.

To join the registry in support of Rhynett, please click this link:

join the registry

Rhynett’s Search for a Donor

Unfortunately, there is no matching donor in her family. And there is no match for her on the national registry.

Not yet.

We are doing everything we can to share her story and enable more people to join the registry on her behalf.

Rhynett tells us that her body hurts. “I get tired easily. I have been receiving blood transfusions for months now…it’s all very overwhelming, but God is in control”.

She is grateful for the support of her friends and family. She is also thankful for her church family at the Northside Church of Christ in Jacksonville, Florida. She has been worshipping at Northside since she was 14 years old.

She Has Faith

Despite her battle with this life-threatening disease, Rhynett has faith that God will provide.

She enjoys reading, traveling, and singing. She has traveled and sung extensively, trying to be an encouragement and a blessing to the Brotherhood of her church. She loves singing and spreading the “Good News” through the gift that God has blessed her with.

Rhynett sang for many years with her church group Total Praise, as well as the Northside Acappella Mass Choir.

“Singing has always been the thing that kept me motivated and content. I miss it so much.”

Unfortunately, chemotherapy has affected her vocal cords.

Join the Registry

Please help us in Rhynett’s search to find a matching bone marrow donor. Join the registry. After clicking the link, follow the prompts to create an account and register to become a potential donor.

You can also help us spread the word by sharing Rhynett’s story.

join the registry

“I know if you can help in any way, you will. May God bless each of you for your kind hearts and loving spirits.”

-Rhynett Chapman

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