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Bone marrow drive in metro-Atlanta Thursday and Friday

10:42 AM, Mar 29, 2012   |    comments
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ATHENS, Ga. -- A sleepless 24-hours was worth it for friends and supporters of 12-year-old Kajal Patel as efforts to find a bone marrow match exceeded expectations.

PHOTOS | 24-Hour Bone Marrowthon

A 24-hour Marrow-thon began at 4 p.m. Tuesday and continued until 4 p.m. Wednesday, as friends of 12-year-old Kajal Patel worked to find a bone marrow donor.

Over 27-hundred cheek swab samples were collected in hopes of finding one person that might qualify as a donor. The odds of finding a bone marrow match for the sixth grader who has been hospitalized since February is one in 20-thousand.

11Alive was there throughout the entire 24-hours to document the effort with live reports through the day and night.

Organizers say the 27-hundred samples collected may be a world record for a 24-hour period.

The 24-hour drive may be over, but the effort isn't.

The LifeSouth Coummunity Blood Center at 4891 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, just north of Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody says they too will accept folks for bone marrow testing Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., both days.

"Our school is a completely different place without her here," said classmate Ryan Iyer. "We're all enthusiastic, and that's her thing. We know if any of us were in that state she'd do the same.

When she was only 9 months old, Kajal Patel was diagnosed with an immune disorder. Last November she suffered a stroke and was hospitalized. She appeared to recover from that only to suffer another stroke in February.

Kajal had to leave school and is now at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.

"Before it was things that we could handle," said Tina Patel, Kajal's mother. "Now it's something more critical, so it's hard to deal with that. But we're in good hands."

Some of those hands are still growing. They include the sixth graders who have started a Facebook page dedicated to finding Kajal Patel a bone marrow match

"We do want to save her life so she can be a healthy young girl," said classmate Cardy Pennington.

Anyone wanting to respond now can go to the Be The Match Foundation website, where Kajal is featured.

"When the doctor told us she needed a bone marrow match, we were like, we can help, we can help," said classmate Purav Patel.

They've even written a song dedicated to their sick schoolmate.

"I'm worried but I'm positive we'll get a match for her," said Kajal's cousin Avi Patel. 


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