WINK News first introduced you to 8-year-old Kobe last year when he was in need of a bone marrow transplant in order to survive.
After living with leukemia, Jakobe Washington finally heard the words “cancer free.” Now, he and his family are celebrating.
Kobe has spent months fighting against a rare form of leukemia. “It’s been hard,” he said. “Having to wake up in the morning and get ready. And I have to go straight to the hospital.”
“His body wasn’t really responding to the chemo that they were giving. So it ended up being that he needed a transplant,” said Jordan Washington, Kobe’s father.
He needed a lifesaving bone marrow transplant, and thousands of people from all over Florida offered to donate their bone marrow. Only 29% of Black people like Kobe are able to find their match.
“Needing a transplant was already tough enough. … our son will be going through an even tougher route with this situation,” said his mother, Imeria Price.
“We were having all these drives and absolutely no one was popping up in the system for him,” Jordan said.
The family was hoping they’d find someone who was a 70%, 80% or 90% match for him, but Jordan knew what he had to do. “I had no doubt in my mind, like I said, that I was the one for him.”
When they couldn’t find a match that close, they turned to Jordan despite him only being a 50% match. It proved to be enough.
The bone marrow transplant was a success and doctors declared that the 8-year-old is now 100% cancer-free.
Price describes what it was like for her to hear that her son was cancer-free. “I read the words before I heard them, and I just couldn’t believe it.”
“He doesn’t have to have this, you know, monkey on his back anymore,” Jordan said.
For that, Kobe is grateful. “Even if you weren’t my donor, I appreciate you for coming out to my drive.”
Even though all the potential donors weren’t a match for Kobe, they will remain on the “Be a Match” registry in hopes they’ll be able to save someone else’s life.