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Community rallies to support local boy with life threatening disease

By Greg Payne

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    JOHNSON COUNTY, Kansas (KCTV) — A Kansas community is using the hardwood to help a young member of the community who is battling a life-threatening disease.

The game of basketball, from the players to coaches, is all about team.

As several local teams went head-to-head in the annual Huhtamaki hardwood classic basketball tournament in De Soto, the spirit of team was playing a major role both on and off the court.

“The chance of being a match would be cool especially like no one else were to match, might as well take those five minutes,” says Brayden Clark, who registered today.

Many people the last couple of days of the tournament, have taken those few minutes, swabbing their mouths, in hopes they can help 6-year-old Grant Garrett of De Soto.

Earlier this year Garrett was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, making him in dire need of a lifesaving bone marrow transplant.

Unfortunately, none of his family members were a match, and the eight initial matches have either withdrawn or are dealing with complications preventing them from helping.

So, there are currently no matches for grant on the registry.

“When you are a patient looking for a donor, you’re looking for someone who has a blood type, the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) blood type that matches yours as close as possible,” said Tracie Howell, the account manager for Be the Match in the KC metro area.

Right now, Garrett and his parents are in Wisconsin for treatment, just hoping a match can be found soon.

Just like here on the hardwood, the De Soto and surrounding communities will continue to play their role on this larger “community team” to help one of their own and others just like Garrett, who are looking for a match.

“It’s cool to see a variety of people that may not even know the kid that are coming to help,” says Clark.

Grant’s parents say they’re grateful for all the community support. The tournament did end today, so if you couldn’t make it out to support, you can visit Be The Match website.

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