COURTESY OF BRITNI DIAS
Leukemia patient Shawn Dias was added to the Hawaii Bone Marrow Registry in March but has yet to find a match.
Fundraiser to double as marrow match gala
Leukemia saps his strength but Shawn Dias is fighting, and you can help Jan. 6
Shawn Dias was learning to fight kempo karate 11 months ago. Now, he is struggling to fight off the infections attacking his body.
"I'm in here for low white counts, no immune system. I get infections a lot," said the leukemia patient, who has spent the past three weeks at the Queen's Medical Center because of complications related to his cancer.
"At 33, I feel like one 60-year-old man. I used to be active. This takes a toll on your body," Dias said.
In February, Dias' doctors diagnosed the acute myeloid leukemia devastating his body. Dias began chemotherapy the next day.
As Dias undergoes his second round of chemotherapy, his 26-year-old wife, Kainalu, is planning a fundraiser and bone marrow drive to find a match for a blood marrow transplant that could save his life.
The fundraiser is on Jan. 6 at Rumours Nightclub in the Ala Moana Hotel from 3 to 8 p.m. Admission is $10.
"We're just hoping it'll bring a lot of people out and get them on the (bone marrow registration) list," she said. "It can happen to anyone."
Dias, who has a 3-year-old daughter, was added to the Hawaii Bone Marrow Registry in March but has not found a match.
A close tissue match with Dias, who is Hawaiian, Portuguese and Caucasian, would improve the odds of the operation's success. Doctors have also checked his family with no luck.
Checking for tissue matches is as simple as swabbing the mouth with a cotton swab.
Entertainment, including live music and a fashion show, and free pupus will be part of the fundraiser and bone marrow drive.
Dias' father, Richard, said his son could become himself again with a bone marrow transplant.
"He could stop taking his chemo and become productive again, function. Right now it's devastating. He sleeps. That's not really Shawn."
Shawn Dias hopes people registering on the bone marrow registry could end up helping other people like himself.
"They need more people from all ethnicities. You got to at least try," he said. "If the (sample) doesn't match me, it could match somebody else."