Finding A Match

Coach’s son’s need prompts bone marrow donor registration drive

More than 325 people signed up as prospective bone marrow donors during a recent registration drive for the 4-year-old son of Highland Park Middle School teacher and coach Adam Lopez.

The May 22 registration drive for Dak Lopez, held in conjunction with an online registration drive, was hosted by DKMS, a nonprofit blood stem cell donor center, in partnership with Brother Bill’s Helping Hand.

Adam said Dak was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia in April and spent more than a month in the hospital afterward.

“They immediately started him on chemo, and as of (about May 10), he is in remission, which is great news,” Lopez said shortly before the registration drive. “(However), since he does have an aggressive form of leukemia, they anticipate it to come back.” 

Dak will receive additional chemotherapy treatments and ultimately need a bone marrow transplant.

“That transplant is his only cure,” Lopez said. “We’re just hoping that it can help Dak, of course, but at the same time, if we can help one, two, three – I mean, as many people as we can, that’s what it’s all about right there.”

According to DKMS, there are 15,000 people in the U.S. in need of a transplant.

“The thing about Dak’s situation is since Dak is Hispanic, we are linked to people of (the) same ancestry, so in order for him to find a match, he’s going to have to find somebody that is of Hispanic origin,” Lopez said.

Adam said he’s thankful for the support from the community.

“It’s been a nightmare, but the support is tremendous,” Lopez said. 

Lopez is also a coach at Highland Park High School, and DKMS said the high school’s student council recently hosted a benefit that raised over $17,000 for the nonprofit.

Visit dkms.org/dak to register as a potential donor

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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