by Suzanne PhanFriday, July 7th 2017
Friday marked “Ethiopia Day” and tens of thousands of Ethiopians are in Seattle for a huge week-long soccer tournament and cultural festival. The community celebration could be a lifeline for a Vancouver mother who desperately needs to find a bone marrow donor match. (Photo: KOMO News)
RENTON, Wash. – Friday is “Ethiopia Day” and tens of thousands of Ethiopians are in Seattle for a huge week-long soccer tournament and cultural festival.
The community celebration could be a lifeline for a Vancouver mother who desperately needs to find a bone marrow donor match.
Soccer is a sport that means so much to the Ethiopian community.
“Most of the Ethiopians, they play soccer,” said Estfina Berhe, a teen visiting from Portland with his family.
A national tournament has brought 300 players, more than 60 teams, and more than 30,000 Ethiopians to Renton Memorial Stadium this week.
“It is absolutely the biggest gathering of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia,” said Lu Selassie from Los Angeles.
Some say it’s an opportunity to help save a woman’s life- Elsa Nega, an Ethiopian-Canadian mother of two in Vancouver.
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Suzanne Phan ✔ @SuzannePhan
The search for bone marrow donor to help Vancouver mother #ElsaNega. A special #Ethiopian community event in Seattle can help #komonews
1:08 PM – 7 Jul 2017
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Elsa has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She’s searching for a bone marrow transplant, but it has been tough.
“There are 29 million people on the registry and nobody matches Elsa,” said Tori Fairhurst, with “Be The Match” National Donor Registry.
The hope is that “Be The Match” and thise special gathering can help.
“Hopefully (it can.) find a match,” said Abaynesh Wakie, who is visiting from Orange County, Calif.
“People are most likely to match someone who shares their ancestry. And that’s why it’s so important to register Ethiopians. We’re not matching blood. We’re matching tissue type,” said Fairhurst.
Each person that stops to register could be a match.
“Most people never get the call. But if somebody does get a call, they could be the cure for somebody cancer,” said Fairhurst.
Meanwhile, little Lana and Lawrence Nega are asking for help to save their mother’s life. A video posted on YouTube shows them reading a letter.
“Our mom has leukemia. We are asking you to register on the website.”
Registry advocates say this weekend, the Ethiopian community gathering in Renton can become a lifeline.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to reach a large community of Ethiopians in support of a woman who is Ethiopian,” said Fairhurst.
The bone marrow registry drive continues through 8 p.m. Saturday at Renton Memorial Stadium. Click here to register.