While most families celebrated Christmas by exchanging gifts, Kevin and Jennifer Flood spent their holiday surrounded by doctors and discovering that their six-year-old son Colin has Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL).
Colin, described as an athletic and outgoing kid, experienced fevers, night sweats, aches and pains — symptoms his parents assumed were signs of the seasonal flu — the week before Christmas. He spent the holiday in the hospital, receiving his first round of chemotherapy.
A first-grade student at Our Lady of Hope Catholic School in Middle Village, Colin plays in a peewee basketball league. Forced to give up the game he loves due to his illness, he is confined to the hospital, where he receives constant treatment.
Kevin, a retired firefighter who fought to protect the community during 9/11, is now asking others to assist him in his efforts to save his son, by urging people to get tested to see if they are able to donate bone marrow.
“The hardest thing as a parent is knowing there is nothing I can do to help save my son,” said Kevin. “So please, get swabbed and give Colin a fighting chance.”
DKMS, a non-profit organization that helps determine if people are suitable for bone marrow donation, will hold a registration session at Our Lady of Hope on Saturday, February 18 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Open to those in good health, people between the ages of 18 and 55 can potentially donate to any patient in need of a transplant.
“I hope this [drive] inspires other people to see what they can do,” said DKMS spokesperson James Kirkland. “All it takes is genuine compassion.”
For more information about DKMS, visit www.getswabbed.org.