SAN MATEO -- A Bay Area nonprofit is racing to find a bone-marrow donor for a San Mateo man who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in April.
Eugene Borja, 37, is undergoing chemotherapy to fight the disease, a sometimes fatal form of cancer that affects white blood cells and the body's ability to resist infection. The father of two young children is from the U.S. territory of Guam, and there are relatively few Pacific Islander marrow donors in the national registry.
"It's urgent," said Carol Gillespie, executive director of the Asian American Donor Program. "I'm really worried about him."
Borja, who has taken a medical leave from his job as a physical education teacher at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Redwood City, was admitted to an emergency room Tuesday night, Gillespie said, apparently with a high fever.
Borja's ancestry goes back to the Chamorros, who lived on Guam before the arrival of Europeans. His donor, if not from Guam, will likely be Pacific Islander or Asian.
There are roughly 11,635 Pacific Islanders in San Mateo County and 188,460 in California, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Asian American Donor Program's next marrow drive occurs Saturday and Sunday in San Francisco's Japantown. There will be one in Palo Alto on Aug. 17. Even if a match isn't found for Borja, donors may be able to save the lives of others.
To register as a donor, individuals need only submit to a cheek
Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.
--Nihonmachi Street Fair in Japantown
--Post Street between Laguna and Fillmore Streets
--11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 4-5)
bone marrow donation information
--Visit the Asian American Donor Program at www.aadp.org
--Learn about upcoming marrow drives at www.aadp.org/drive
--Check out the National Marrow Donor Program at http://marrow.org
--Have a registration kit sent to your home by visiting http://marrow.org/join