Teenager with genetic disease waits for Bone Marrow transplant

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- A rare disease has one Valley teen searching for normalcy.

Valeria Villalpando has been waiting for years to find a bone marrow donor, and her search for a lifesaver could be key to finding other donors as well.

"I got diagnosed four years ago," said Valeria Villalpando. The 17-year-old is your average teenager, but in many ways, she isn't.

"I can't do most things that other kids can," said Villalpando.

The Camelback High School senior was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia, a genetic disease that causes her to bruise and bleed easily.

"I have a passion for soccer and dance, but I can't really do that," said Villalpando.

And without a bone marrow transplant, she can't do any of that.

"When people hear the word 'bone marrow', they get really scared and worried," said Aubrey Vargas with the National Marrow Registry.

To find a bone marrow match is complex, but to get on the list to be a donor is not.

"Order your cheek swab in the mail. It'll come and you'll just swab your cheek and send it back through the mail. It will put you on the registry to be a marrow donor for somebody, and to possibly save a a life," said Vargas.

Valeria is hopeful that it will be hers someday soon.

"Whoever it is, I'm thankful for them to give me an opportunity to live on," said Villalpando.

Join the Bone Marrow Registry