Little League hosts bone marrow search


By Noelle Lyons

Shortly after the start of his freshman year in September, Christopher Robinson ’13 was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. The cancer of the blood has prevented him from attending school for the past four months.

Following his diagnosis, doctors said his best chance was a bone marrow transplant from a donor not related to him.

Robinson, who planned to play on the frosh-soph baseball team, had been playing baseball at Ladera Little League since age 6. To help Robinson and others with leukemia, the league decided to host a bone marrow registry drive during its opening day Saturday.

The registry was run by the Be the Match Foundation and was open to Little League members and the public.

Joining the registry was a two-step process where people filled out paperwork with personal information and had their cheeks swabbed.

“It’s really important that we help each other out when things like this happen,” league president Tracie Lyons said. “Particularly when you are a part of a family like Ladera Little League, you want to help people when you have an opportunity. And this is a great opportunity to help not only one of our own players, but possibly other children and adults who may need a bone marrow match.”

According to the UCLA Health System, it is difficult to find people with similar bone marrow.

Patients are more likely to match with people of the same race or ethnicity. Out of a registry of millions of potential donors, less than 10 percent are African-American, as Robinson is.

Most of those attending the Ladera Little League drive were black, increasing the chance of finding a match for Robinson.

Unable to participate in the league’s opening day, Robinson watched the event from center field near the front parking lot.

Robinson was supposed to throw the ceremonial first pitch, but instead, his 10-year-old brother did the honors, throwing the pitch to their father.