A 7-year-old boy is fighting for a second chance at life.
Julian Morales was at the Calle Ocho festival in Miami Sunday, beaming with joy and greeting everyone with a smile. It's clear he's not giving up the fight for his life.
"I need help," said Morales.
The boy suffers from a rare, life-threatening blood disorder and bone marrow failure. He hopes someone at the festival will be his match for a blood stem cell transplant.
"We're here trying to save my son's life," said Mayra Garcia, Morales' mother. "It's a lifeline. It's a matter of life and death."
Be The Match Registry is the world's largest and most diverse blood stem cell registry in the world. The organization already searched through over 26 million donors in the registry and no match has been found for Julian.
"We are losing a lot of patience because there aren't enough Hispanics or Latinos in the registry," Said Airam Dasilva of the Icla DaSilva Foundation.
According to Be The Match, people are more likely to match someone of their same ethnic background. The family thinks someone on Calle Ocho may be able to give the 7-year-old a second chance at life.
"It's been pretty difficult for him as a child. He doesn't have the lifestyle a child should have. So I'm just hoping today we get as many people as possible to register," said Garcia.
According to Be The Match, a bone marrow transplant takes a donor's healthy blood-forming cells and then puts them into the patient's bloodstream. That's when the patient will be able to grow and make healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Certain diseases could affect blood cells within the body. That's when a blood stem cell transplant could be necessary.
Anyone can check to see if they are a match for Julian. Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 44.
Anyone interested in participating can text 'Calle Ocho' (without quotation marks) to 61474 and Be The Match will send a kit to your home.