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Youngster ready to help spread message for bone marrow registry
Piper Sousa with dog
The family of bone marrow recipient Piper Sousa is hosting a bone marrow donor awareness and fundraising event from 8 a.m. to noon on Feb. 26 at East La Loma Park in Modesto.

In early 2020, the Sousa family was anxiously awaiting to see if young Piper would find a bone marrow match. Months later that match would be found and now two years later Piper is healthy and ready to spread the word about the bone marrow registry.

Piper was 8 when she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and had less than 10 percent of the bone marrow she needed. Aplastic anemia is caused by damaged stem cells that fail to produce new blood cells. It can occur at any age and can be either mild or severe and short-lived or chronic. The symptoms, when present, can include fatigue, easy bleeding and bruising, a rash, headaches and a fever. People with aplastic anemia run a higher risk of contracting serious infections, because their immune system is not operating as it should.

Doctors said that Piper’s best chance for a last recovery would be from a bone marrow transplant.

The family were all tested to see if any of them might be a match and Piper was placed on the registry. In the summer of 2020, they got the news that a 23-year-old student in Louisiana was a top match for Piper.

“When we got the news of a match, there were so many emotions,” said Jennifer Sousa, Piper’s mother. “We were overjoyed and thrilled, but also a little scared because of the rick involved.”

The transplant went well and Piper is now an active 10-year-old doing all the things she loves to do, like sleepovers with her friends and getting to eat all the foods that she wasn’t able to eat after the transplant.

The Sousa family wants to help other people find their match, so they are hosting an awareness and fundraising event. The Dash to Be a Match is a five-kilometer run/walk scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon on Feb. 26 at East La Loma Park in Modesto.

Participants pay $10 to join the event and raise funds through donations. They can also be swabbed to join the national bone marrow registry. To register or donate visit