Local family holds fifth bone marrow drive for son
Like most people in their 20s, Damian Gonzalez likes going at full speed.
"I was always taught you do your best, get good grades, you're a good person. Things will fall into place. And they were. Everything was going according to "plan"," Damian said.
In 2009, Damian's doctor diagnosed him with a deterioration of bone in his hips.
He was just two classes away from graduating from UCSD.
"I felt like it was just torn from me, for no reason at all," he said.
The 26 year-old now needs two hip replacements, but first, he needs a life saving bone marrow transplant. Pain has slowed down Damian's life.
"One being you're fine to 'ten' being you want to collapse in pain, I probably run from a 7 to an 8 daily. Constantly," he said.
It's pain that won't go away until a donor is found.
"We're under-represented in the registry. Certain bone marrow groups are under-represented in the registry. Many people end up dying because they don't get a transplant," his mom, Carmen Gonzalez, said.
The Gonzalez family played a big part in adding donors to that bone marrow registry. So far, they've had five bone marrow drives, drawing in about 600 donors.
"I had a little kid that passed away actually. If I can do anything for a kid, to help out, I will," donor Rod Johnson said.
Damian is running out of time waiting for that perfect match, though.
"We're going to go in it with a partial match, which is better than no match," Damian said.
Damian and his family will leave for transplant at the end of May. While he waits to get back on the move, he knows even a full recovery won't ever change his desire to give back.
"In ten years, I'll still be doing stuff like this. Occasionally having bone marrow drives, doing your part. If everyone did a little bit, I feel like everyone in the world would be fine," Damian said.
You can join the Bone Marrow Registry with a simple cheek swab. For more information and to get a kit click here.
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