NEW YORK — In most ways, Ayden Paredes is like any other four-year-old, but an aggressive form of blood cancer keeps him from playing with friends as long as he’d like.

“He just wants to be that normal kid that can run without getting exhausted,” said Mark Paredes, Ayden’s father and an NYPD officer. “Just to be a four-year-old.”

For six months, Ayden has bravely battled the disease, but chemotherapy hasn’t worked. His family, the New York Blood Center, and Be The Match Registry have organized bone marrow drives in his honor.

What You Need To Know

  • Relatives joined the New York Blood Center and Be the Match Registry to hold a donor drive for Ayden Paredes, 4, who suffers from leukemia

  • The drive calls attention to the lack of diversity in donor registries and the strain on resources caused by the pandemic

  • So far, chemotherapy hasn’t worked, and Ayden’s Hispanic heritage is underrepresented in the registry

“Ayden was diagnosed with [Acute lymphoblastic leukemia] in February and we don’t have a match,” said Barble Paredes, Ayden’s mom.

Finding a match during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the midst of a nationwide blood shortage, has proved challenging in more ways than one.

“Unfortunately [in] Hispanic populations, Black populations, Asian populations, Middle Eastern populations, there’s just not enough matches,” said Barble Paredes.

Ayden’s Colombian, Puerto Rican and Guatemalan heritage is underrepresented in the registry.

“It’s about, give or take, a little over 22 million people that are registered and 79% of those registrants are European/Caucasian and then the other 21%  is every other racial group,” explained Jair Thompson of Be the Match Registry.

The family is hoping to get as many people as possible to register.

“If it’s not for Ayden, it could be for anybody else,” Mark said.

They’re looking forward to trying a stem cell treatment while they search for a match.

“We give him toys and games and activities, coloring books, puzzles, he definitely finds happiness in that,” Barble said. “But like all children, he’s very resilient and if we try to make the best for it, he also has a positive attitude for it, too.”

If you’d like information on how to register, visit the New York Blood Center’s website, or text “AYDEN” to 61474.


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