Support pours in for NM teen in need of bone marrow transplant

Updated: 05/24/2014 6:28 PM | Created: 05/24/2014 6:23 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A New Mexico teenager in need of a bone marrow transplant is hoping you could save her life.

Miquela Martinez is still looking for compatible donor and dozens of people signed up at a donor registration drive Saturday to see if they could be a match. After a quick mouth swab, Linda Bunnell will soon find out if she's a compatible donor.

"You never know," she said. "You could be match and be able to save a life."

The 16-year-old has spent the last two months in the hospital after she was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening blood disease.

A bone marrow transplant is her only hope, but finding a match won't be easy. Only one in every 540 donors is a likely match.

Bunnell said she wouldn't hesitate to help is she's the one.

"I think it's an amazing thing to be able to help somebody."

Miquela's dad, Michael, was at the donor registry drive for his daughter in Albuquerque Saturday morning. He said even complete strangers have signed up to donate.

"It's been great," he said. "The support that's been coming out from friends, family the community."

Even if they aren't a match for Miquela, they could be a match for someone else waiting for a transplant. That's another reason why Miquela's family won't give up until they find hers.

"Just knowing that all this is happening to help not only her and the drive for bone marrow transplant, but other kids and other people that might need it at a later date," her dad said.

Residents unable to participate on Saturday can go to and request a donor kit be sent to their home.

If you are a match, there are two ways to donate bone marrow. One is similar to giving blood and doctors are able to take the cells from a simple donation. The other, used in only about 15 percent of cases, requires needle extraction through the hip.

Miquela's family has scheduled another drive from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 30 at 105 Albright Road in Taos.

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