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Arkansas girl in need of bone marrow donors as she fights leukemia



Little Rock, Arkansas – Samantha Andrews, 9, appears to be an ordinary child at first glance, but she is actually facing Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) for the second time.

For years now, Samantha and her family have relied on a supportive community, but they now hope that community will expand to assist Samantha in receiving a transplant that will change her life.

According to Samantha’s mother Serena, her family and she will never forget September 10, 2021.

“It turned our world upside down,” Serena explained. “Samantha was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.”

Samantha then began her treatment. Her family is forced to spend a month at a time in the hospital with each round of chemotherapy that she receives.

“She ended up getting five treatments of chemotherapy and she went into remission after the first, finishing her last treatment in June 2022,” Serena said.

The road back to some normalcy for Samantha started with remission.

“That was one thing she said is, ‘Mom, I want to live life,’ and she did,” Serena added.

She still has leukemia, though, and it returned in August. Thus, in addition to chemotherapy and blood and platelet transfusions, she need additional support.

“She’s considered high risk with a relapse, she’s going to also need a bone marrow transplant,” Serena explained.

The community, which has been supporting the Andrews family for the past two years, is now required once more.

“I feel like we have been blessed,” Serena said. “This could be an awful, road without the community or friends and support, so I’m truly grateful for them.”

On Saturday, September 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., First Baptist Church in Benton will organize a bone marrow swab drive in collaboration with a non-profit organization and the family’s friends and relatives.

Donors can undergo a cheek swab to determine if they are a bone marrow match for Samantha at this free event.

“It would mean so much to me because it really helps,” Samantha said.

Serena clarified that families only have a thirty percent chance of matching for a bone marrow donation. In the meantime, outside sources account for 70% of matches.

“We’re getting 500 kits, so we want all 500 done if we can because everybody’s DNA is different,” Serena said. “It’s going to take that one special person to be her match.”

In addition to the short 10-minute cheek swab procedure, blood donations can benefit other children in need, such as Samantha.

“My daughter is Madison Adams, she also has Acute Myeloid Leukemia,” said Crystal Adams, Madison’s mother. “She was declared cancer-free in June, but unfortunately on June 28, she relapsed. So, we are now up for transplant as well.”

In addition to seeking contributions, Madison and Samantha want to raise awareness of cancer, particularly in light of September being Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.

“It doesn’t really get that much attention and it just needs more because lots of kids have it,” Samantha described.

Samantha might save her own life with such insight.

“We don’t have a match at this point, we really do need everybody and anybody that can come out to do so,” Serena said.

In the event that a match is found, the procedure might take up to four months before the actual bone marrow transplant. The family is looking for 500 donors.

A person must be between the ages of 18 and 55 in order to donate. The First Baptist Church, located at 211 S. Market St. in Benton, will host the bone marrow swab.


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