BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - LifeShare Blood Centers is teaming up with Barksdale AFB and the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program to help save the life of an 11-year old Airman's son by holding a blood and marrow registry drive.
In the face of adversity, it appears 11-year-old Micah Johnson has already learned to keep cheering through pain.
"He's a big Lebron James fan. We watched the playoffs from the hospital during the ordeal while they were prepping him for the transplant," said Technical Sgt. Javon Lee.
For parents Javon and Master Sgt. Tavara Lee, the last few months have been rough. In February, their youngest son Micah was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a blood disease.
"He knows what is going on. We tell him everything. We don't keep it from him," added Lee.
The reality remains that Micah needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. While his immediate family isn't the match he needs, their extended family at Barksdale Air Force Base turned out Monday to honor the airman's creed to never leave another behind.
"Everybody stepped up and was like, 'I'll do everything I can.' We've had a week's notice to set up the marrow drive on base and we've had all these people behind me stepping up," said Master Sgt. Josh Hoffman.
Master Sgt. Josh Hoffman says Micah's story tugged at his heart and led to him reaching out to Lifeshare to help save Micah.
"Kind of put myself in his shoes and wanted to do more, and to see what we could do tell him as a brotherhood," added Hoffman.
That brotherhood brought airmen to lay down their caps and pick up a pen to donate blood to Micah and also join the national bone marrow registry.
"I trust in God he's going to make a way. I know the percentage seems small, but I just trust that something is going to happen," said Lee.
The drive continues Tuesday at Hoban Hall on base from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you do not have base access and want to help, LifeShare encourages you to stop by one of their centers, to give blood and/or to register to be a stem cell/marrow donor.
Shreveport Center Location: 8910 Linwood Ave., Shreveport, La. 318.673.1471
Bossier Center Location: 1523 Doctors Drive, Bossier City, La. 318.742.4636
You can also click here to register online and receive a swab kit in the mail to be tested for a match with Micah.
July is African American Bone Marrow Awareness month.
Bone marrow transplants are need for those battling blood cancers like leukemia and blood disorders like sickle cell disease.
African Americans only make up 7% of the national bone marrow registry. A patient's best chance of finding a matching bone marrow donor is with someone of similar ancestry, so African Americans with blood cancers and disorders have a harder time finding lifesaving donors.