Alexandrians enter donor registry in hopes of saving 19-year-old battling leukemia


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — 19-year-old Aleyda Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia that soon became resistant to chemotherapy. Now, her only hope of survival is to find a matching donor for a blood stem cell transplant.

Brown was diagnosed with the rare blood disease in November 2020. She was set to participate in a clinical trial, but suffered a stroke that prevented her from the treatment. The family was contacted by non-profit Be the Match to help find a stem cell donor for Aleyda.

“We found out after the registry had been mined for several months that there were no ideal donors for her,” said Khiarra Kosling, Aleyda’s mother.

In search of the perfect match, Aleyda’s family and Be the Match held a drive through cheek-swabbing event to encourage others to register.

“The odds of someone being called to be a full match is only one in 430. So doctor’s are hoping to find a match or go to transplant very soon here,” said Beth Carrion, Account Manager for Be the Match.

The list of potential matching donors on the registry are slim, with the pandemic limiting access to a younger age demographic for stem cell donations.

“We went from registering thousands a day nationwide to hundreds per day. It’s been extremely difficult for us because our college campuses are closed,” said Carrion.

The family hopes the awareness about the need for stem cell donors goes beyond just Aleyda.

“This does give me a lot of hope,” said Kosling. “There are 72,000 young adults and children every year that are diagnosed with blood cancers and their only option is a stem cell transplant. Register and save a life.

Those interested in being on the registry must be between the ages of 18 to 44. To find out more information, visit Aleyda’s donation page here.

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