Sick Pasco teen seeks miracle marrow match

Edgar Gutierrez thought he simply had a case of the flu last December when he was constantly tired and getting headaches.

"I thought it was just going to go away," he said.

But the 17-year-old Pasco High School junior was faced with something much worse.

After ending up at Richland's Kadlec Medical Center, Gutierrez was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare blood disorder that once was considered nearly always fatal.

Now, he has less than two months to find a marrow donor before doctors will have to resort to experimental and less-effective treatments, he said.

"I'm in a critical state," Gutierrez said. "I'm praying a lot ... ."

A marrow donor registration drive for Gutierrez, who has a rare tissue type, is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at Community Health Center La Clinica in Pasco.

"We are urging everybody to come out and register," said Cristina Klatovsky of the Tri-Cities and Yakima marrow program for the Inland Northwest Blood Center.

Gutierrez thought a match was found about a month ago, but it turned out not to be compatible.

Those who register as a donor cannot specifically register to be Gutierrez's donor but will be placed on the national registry to check for matches across the U.S. and the world, Klatovsky said.

"They will not only be helping me out, but people around the world," he said. "If it was you in this situation, wouldn't you want someone to help you?"