HOUSTON - A local Fresno man was diagnosed with leukemia in June of 2019. For the last year and a half, he’s been searching for a blood stem cell donor, to save his life. He never imagined that a star NFL player would step up to answer his calls for help.
32-year-old Dorian Price was a healthy, former college athlete with no family history of leukemia, so the diagnosis came as a surprise last year. His struggle has only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dorian's been searching for a blood stem cell donor for a year and a half, but the New Orleans native never expected it would be Saints running back Ty Montgomery that would step up and try to help.
"Gotta get in there good. Praying for a match," said Montgomery.
With a simple 10 second cheek swab, Ty Montgomery is now registered to become a potential donor with “Be the Match”.
"If not me, I hope somebody watching this will be a match," said Montgomery.
The registry helps patients like Price.
"I was someone who took care of themselves. I was in the gym five to six days a week and I started experiencing the lower leg pain. And I thought it was a muscle strain. I went into a local urgent care here on near my home. And it turned out that it was a blood clot and that blood clot led them to identify that I actually was suffering from AML leukemia," said Dorian.
48 hours after Dorian’s cancer diagnosis, he began chemotherapy treatments.
In the last year and a half, he’s completed 11 rounds of chemo, on top of additional medications and undergoing blood transfusions twice a week.
Doctors say his best chance of survival is finding a blood stem cell donor. But the process can be tricky.
His sister stepped up, but it didn’t quite work out.
"Last December we decided to go with my sister. Unfortunately, that donation was unsuccessful and my leukemia returned in March of this year," said Dorian.
To this date, Dorian’s be searching for his perfect match.
According to Be the Match, there’s a significant need for minority donors. Out of 23 million people currently registered, only 4% signed up are Black.
"You can also receive a transplant from someone who is of the same race as you. When someone White needs a blood stem cell transplant, they have a 77% chance of finding the match. Asians and Latinos are more into the 45% to 50%, and at the bottom is African American at 23% chance to find a match," said Eric Bolton, a representative with Be the Match.
According to Be the Match, every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. Every 10 minutes, someone dies from that.
Bolton said it takes roughly six weeks to find out if someone is a match. Dorian says he will be anxiously waiting this holiday season to find out if Ty Montgomery could be the donor that saves his life.
To Join the registry, text SaveDorian to 61474 or www.join.bethematch.org/SaveDorian