When 2006 Hays High graduate Mark Moreno went to the dentist with a toothache, he didn’t expect his eventual diagnosis.
It hit his parents like a rock, and their world has turned upside down.
Leukemia. The dreaded word that any parent of a young child cringes from.
But, a young adult? Who expects that?
The saga began in April of this year, when Mark went to the dentist to have a tooth extracted. After the tooth was removed and he remained on antibiotics, he became pale and ashen.
His family took him to Seton Hays in Kyle, where they diagnosed him with leukemia. He was transported to Brackenridge in Austin for further tests.
Mark was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. His mother, Terri Moreno, said Mark’s leukemia is very treatable.
“With him being young and having no other health issues, there’s a 90 percent success rate with a bone marrow transplant,” Terri said.
But Mark hasn’t found a match yet. No one in his family matches his marrow type.
That’s why the family is hoping and praying for a match through local friends. Mark has a lot of local friends and local connections. While attending Hays High School, Mark was a member of the Rebel band, Leo Club and student council. A bone marrow drive to get people to register is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Dahlstrom Middle School.
Terri said the drive is only to register potential donors. Contact information is taken, and the workers swab the potential donors’ cheeks. When that data is put into a national registry system, possible matches can be found.
That’s what the Moreno family is hoping for.
Before Saturday’s event, Mark is heading to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Wednesday through Friday, going through pre-admission work. But his hopes are pinned on Saturday’s event.
Terri Moreno said that, becase Mark is Hispanic and so few percentage of possible donors are Hispanic, he has had a hard time finding a match.
She said only about 10% of the potential bone marrow donors are Hispanic.
To be a donor, you must be between 18 and 55 years old and be in general good health. For more information, go to www.getswabbed.org
Mark’s parents are Louis and Terri Moreno. He has an older sister, Melissa Broccolo, and a younger sister, Michelle Moreno. Mark went to Dahlstrom Middle School before attending Hays High. After graduation from Hays, he was a music education major at Texas State University in San Marcos.