Jayden Roll is a playful, energetic 4-year old girl from Montreal, Canada who loves life. On February 11th, after a few days of extreme fatigue and headaches, tests revealed her blood levels to be abnormally low. A bone marrow biopsy revealed that her bone marrow was failing and she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a rare blood disorder that can progress to leukemia. Jayden has been living off of blood transfusions while doctors are trying to come up with a sustainable treatment for her. Her battle has just begun. In order to survive, Jayden will need a stem cell transplant in the coming weeks.
The drive will take place to register potential donors to the Be the Match National Marrow Donor Program, benefiting patients suffering from various blood cancers and diseases who are in need of a stem cell transplant. The goal is to expand the donor database and provide patients with better chances for survival. Identification is required for registration at the drives. A simple swab from the inside of the cheek is all it takes to determine if one is a match.
“This is truly the most terrifying thing a parent can ever hear about their child,” said Kelly Goodman, Jayden Roll’s mother. “We are actively focused on raising awareness about blood cancers and finding Jayden and others a match because this is her and their best chance at survival.”
The battle belongs to Jayden and the many American and Canadian patients like her. In recent weeks, it has also become the focus of over 200,000 people in Canada and the United States. Through the efforts of an expansive and international team of volunteers, the fight for Jayden has become a social media success story. Jayden has captured the attention of hundreds of thousands on Facebook, has athletes and celebrities tweeting, and has just received an invitation for her family to join “An Evening with Oprah” in Montreal. As a result, last week’s Montreal donor registration drive broke records with their attendance.
Patients like Jayden are most likely to find a donor in a young man aged 18-35, as stem cells from young men provide fewer chances of complications post transplant. People between the ages of 18-60 and in general good health are eligible to be screened and join the Be the Match registry for Jayden and other patients in need.