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|Allums continue bone marrow search|
Bone marrow drives are ongoing throughout northeast Louisiana to hopefully find a match for 11-year-old James Christopher Allums of Monroe.
Allums has Fanconi Anemia, a rare and life-threatening disease that causes bone marrow failure.
He will eventually need a bone marrow transplant, and following that, he will still battle various forms of cancer throughout his life.
Last year, the three local universities held bone marrow drives for Allums and for the 35,000 others in the United States who are currently waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
The University of Louisiana-Monroe set the national record with 2,600 participants at its bone marrow drive.
Bone marrow matches were found for five different people, but no match was found for Allums.
He is now in bone marrow failure and he is being home-schooled. Whenever his white blood cell, red blood cell and platelet counts are down, he must be kept from social and public activities to reduce his exposure to illness.
Allums undergoes blood tests every week to determine his red blood cell, white blood cell and platelet counts.
Ellen Allums said her son had a rough winter because he came down with the flu, which caused his counts to drop.
Right now his counts are up, so he is doing better and he's able to encounter other people more often.
"But for three months we couldn't let him around other people, and that was tough on him," Ellen Allums said. "This has all been tough on him, but he stays so positive all the time and believes that God will heal him."
Ellen Allums said her family, friends and church members will continue to hold bone marrow drives until a match is found for James Christopher.
"Right now we don't have a good enough match, so we're praying for a miracle," Ellen Allums said. "We'll keep doing it until he's cured."
James Christopher's struggle began in 2003 after a routine blood screening by his pediatrician showed an abnormally low platelet count, which indicated that cancer could be an issue.
He went to St. Jude Children's Hospital and later to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, Ark. In April 2005, after a series of tests, James Christopher was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia.
During that year, doctors told the Allums that their son had two years to find a bone marrow match before his marrow stops production.
Ellen Allums said a search has been conducted for James Christopher every two weeks on the National Bone Marrow Registry over the past two years.
Out of the six million people currently listed on the national registry, a match has not been found for Allums.
She said six bone marrow drives have been held locally, and they have added more than 7,000 people on the national registry.
Once a match is found for James Christopher, he will have to go through chemotherapy, radiation and then a transplant. He will then have to be in isolation for up to eight months.
Bone marrow drives will be held from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, May 18, at First United Methodist Church on Loop Road in Monroe and at International Paper in Bastrop from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, May 19.
Both events are open to the public, and the Allums encourage local residents to participate.
For more information about James Christopher and to find out when future bone marrow drives will be held, visit his web site at www.jcallums.com.