TAMPA - Most days, you can catch 8-year-old Jakobe Washington, or Kobe as he likes to be called, out on the ball field.
What You Need To Know
- Kobe Washington, 8, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia
- Members of the community rallied behind him on Saturday
- LINK: Learn more about Kobe's battle
- More Hillsborough County headlines
“He wants to be an aerospace engineer and he also wants to be a baseball player,” said Jordan Washington and Imeria Price, Kobe’s parents.
But back in August, life threw Kobe a curveball, when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“Chemotherapy just wasn’t an option anymore for him, so here we are, him needing a bone marrow transplant, so we’re looking for a donor,” said Price.
African American or Black people have only a 23 percent chance at finding a DNA match, which is necessary to receive a donation.
Which is why Saturday, the community came to bat for Kobe to try and beat that statistic.
“It’s a life saving mission, it’s absolutely a life saving mission, and it’s because we have a very small window and Jakobe has a very small chance of finding his match,” said Debiann McIntosh, community engagement specialist for the Icla De Silva Foundation, which helps recruit potential donors for the Be The Match Foundation.
All it takes to see if you’re a match is a cheek swab, which is then tested in a lab.
Once you join, you will be entered into the Be A Match database to potentially help one of 14,000 people awaiting donations.
And after spending the morning with Kobe’s family, the folks with ‘Be The Match,’ and the potential donors, it’s clear Kobe’s team expands far outside the diamond.
If you couldn’t make it out but still want to register for a swab kit, you can text KOBE to 61474 or visit https://bethematch.org.