Ely Eude Cruz once told her doctor, “I want to be normal. What I want to ask God for most is to be normal.” The 10-year-old has sickle cell disease. A bone marrow transplant is the only known cure. Right now I can’t do much because I can’t run,” Ely said as she cradled one of her cats at home in Dallas.
She suffers from joint pain and migraines. When she was in her home country of Honduras, episodes of epilepsy caused temporary amnesia, and she could not remember who anyone was, not even her own mother. Ely’s condition improved when she came to Dallas two years ago and became a patient at Children’s Health. “Obviously it’s because of the treatment she received here. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Karen Cruz, Ely’s mother, explaining that the medical staff has done everything possible to help her daughter. “They are so good; they work so hard and make me feel so comfortable.” Ely agrees and said Children’s Medical Center Dallas is a great place with a huge train set and pet therapy dogs. She often tells stories about some of her favorite medical staff members. “I like Shelly because she’s very nice to me,” Ely said. “I like Coco because sometimes when I’m sad she puts on music, and she dances and makes me laugh.”
The medical staff at Children’s Health has done a lot to improve Ely’s condition. Now it’s time for the community to help.
The Be The Match donor registry needs more participants – especially from the Hispanic community as Ely’s match for a bone marrow transplant is most likely to come from someone of her own ethnicity. Participation is free, and participants need to be between the ages of 18 and 44. Registering is easy and painless. Swabs are taken from inside of participants’ mouths to place in an international registry that tracks certain proteins to match donors and recipients. If a match is made, bone marrow can be taken from the donor, who can then return to a normal life. All costs are covered for the donor.
For Ely or for another child, the donor registry can make a life-saving difference. Ely hopes people will participate – even if it benefits another child instead of her. That generous spirit is what the drive is all about.
Sign up now for the Be The Match registry to help Ely find a match.
Ely’s story was originally shared by the Children’s Medical Center Foundation. Learn more about how your support can change the lives of children our community.
With 24 pediatric hematologists and oncologists on staff, all of whom are faculty members at UT Southwestern Medical Center, we care for more than 1,000 new patients each year making the Gill Center the largest childhood cancer and blood center in the region.