The Lake City family gave hope to those who needed life-saving treatment

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LAKE CITY, Fla. (WCJB) — It has been a little over a year since Mikhiya Hendon, a Lake City teenager, received a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

After being diagnosed with aplastic anemia, she was able to find a donor who ultimately saved her life.

“Now I can move on, get out of bed, go home and see my family,” Mikhiya Hendon said.

Because of her daughter’s successful surgery, Lakesia Hendon was inspired to host an event and help those who are currently in need of a bone marrow transplant.

“In the storm it taught me who people are, who is there for you and who God is. It’s important to give someone a second chance at life,” said Lakesia Hendon.

A variety of resources were available to attendees, including booths from the Be the Match organization and the Lifesouth Community Blood Center.

Anyone who decided to donate blood did so in the blood mobile.

This blood helps keep patients with aplastic anemia alive while they await their transplant.

“We tell people it’s not about the needle. It’s about necessity. Look past the fears and help someone else,” said Chris Sullivan, mobile team supervisor.

Mikhiya found her donor through the Be the Match organization, which matches patients with bone marrow donors.

Organization staff wiped participants’ cheeks to help find the right partner for someone in need.

“A large part of our registration shows large differences. So we like to go out to the communities that are underrepresented and to communities in general to educate people and get them to sign up,” said donor recruitment coordinator Devan Bolden.

Alachua County Firefighter Brandon Boothby is currently battling the same illness and needs a bone marrow transplant.

“I’ll go with them, I’ll gather with them, I’ll go to the curb and hold up a sign,” Lakesia Hendon said.

She says one hope for the event is to match him with a donor and bring support and healing to his family.

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