Highland Park Middle School teacher and coach Adam Lopez is used to overcoming challenges when it comes to sports but is now facing a challenge of a different sort in finding a bone marrow donor for his 4-year-old son, Dak.
Lopez said Dak was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia in April and spent more than a month in the hospital.
“They immediately started him on chemo and as of (about May 10) he is in remission, which is great news,” Lopez said. “(However), since he does have an aggressive form of leukemia, they anticipate it to come back.”
Dak will receive additional chemotherapy treatments and will ultimately need a bone marrow transplant.
“That transplant is his only cure. That’s the only way that he can be cured,” Lopez said.
According to DKMS, a nonprofit blood stem cell donor center, there are 15,000 people in the U.S. in need of a transplant.
“The thing about Dak’s situation is since Dak is Hispanic, we are linked to people of (the) same ancestry, so in order for him to find a match, he’s going to have to find somebody that is of HIspanic origin,” Lopez said.
To help increase the donor pool, DKMS is partnering with Brother Bill’s Helping Hand to host a potential donor registration drive from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, May 22 at 3906 N. Westmoreland Road in Dallas. Potential donors need to be between the ages of 18 and 55, in good health, and will need to provide a sample using a cheek swab. Those who can’t attend the drive can also register and order a free swab kit here.
“We’re very excited to get this going not only for Dak, but to help other people, other kids that are in the same situation that are depending on a match to potentially save their life,” Lopez said. “We’re just hoping that it can help Dak, of course, but at the same time, if we can help one, two, three – I mean, as many people as we can, that’s what it’s all about right there.”
He said he’s already received a lot of support from the community.
“It’s been a nightmare, but the support is tremendous,” Lopez said. Lopez is also a coach at Highland Park High School and DKMS said the high school’s student council recently hosted a benefit that raised over $17,000 for the nonprofit.
A GoFundMe is also set up for the Lopez family here.