Nikolas Alvarado's dream of being a USAF Firefighter became a nightmare when he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia three days before his 21st birthday
Alvarado's family is pleading with the public to register as donors - not just for their son but leukemia patients everywhere
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- When George "Nikolas" Alvarado first walked into the U.S. Air Force recruitment center in 2018, he was turned away because he was overweight at 240 pounds. Determined to overcome this setback, Alvarado assigned himself his first mission: to drop 70 pounds in one year. With the help of a friend, Alvarado got to work and dropped nearly 30 percent of his body weight. Twelve months later, he returned to the same USAF recruiting center, looking and feeling like a new man at 170 pounds.
This time, he was immediately enlisted into the highly competitive USAF Fire Protection program, passed basic military training boot camp and graduated from the Air Force's Fire Protection Academy. After years of hard work and focus, Alvarado was beginning to realize his dreams – but the celebration would have to wait as the dream became every family's nightmare.
On August 3, 2019, just days before his 21st birthday, Nikolas was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and admitted to the City of Hope in Duarte, Calif. to begin chemotherapy and the long road to recovery.
Adult AML is an aggressive cancer of the blood and bone marrow that requires patients to receive healthy bone marrow transplants to replace their diseased white or red blood cells or platelets. Since bone marrow transplants require a more complex genetic match than other donor procedures – less than one in three AML patients have bone marrow compatibility with a relative – the matching process can be lengthy. Adding to the challenge is this low number of registered bone marrow donors relative to other tissue and organ donors.
After three months of searching for a bone marrow donor, Alvarado's father and mother are asking the public for help. While Nikolas' AML is in remission, his risk of relapse increases each day he goes without a bone marrow transplant. The family is working with the National Marrow Donor Program/Be the Match , a nonprofit matching AML and other patients with bone marrow donors.
"Nikolas' long-term prospects for a healthy life and successful service as a USAF firefighter depend on our ability to find a bone marrow donor," said George Alvarado Sr., Nikolas' father. "We're asking for the public's help not just for my son – but for sons, daughters and family members everywhere fighting AML and other bone marrow diseases."
Nikolas looks forward to returning to active duty with the U.S. Air Force, once he's healthy. The Alvarado family is asking the public to visit www.helpcuregeorge.com, read his story and learn more about becoming a bone marrow donor.
To find out if you're a match, text the word "curegeorge" to 61474
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SOURCE Help Cure George