RBs coach Gary Brown seeks a cure

February, 14, 2014
Feb 14
9:00
AM ET
Friday is important for Cowboys running back coach Gary Brown.

Brown and his family are partnering with Children's Medical Center of Dallas to find a host for a bone marrow transplant for his 15-year old daughter, Malena, who has a form of leukemia.

The bone marrow donor registration drive starts today at various Children's Medical Center hospitals and at bethematch.org

"Dealing with [CMC] for so long its so ingrained in our family," Brown said. "They approached us and wanted Malena, our daughter, to be a sponsored child and we said yeah, it would be great thing to put the awareness out there with the registry."

Malena Brown is diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia. Doctors originally found medication to keep her condition under control and she was in a form of remission but complications developed which have now forced the Brown family to seek donors.

No one on Gary Brown's family or his wife's family is a match.

What makes things more difficult is Malena is biracial and the numbers are very low in finding matching donors based on her ancestry.

According to bethematch.org, a person is more likely to find a donor from the same racial or ethnic background. African-Americans make up just 66 percent of matching donors. Whites make up 93 percent and people of Hispanic/Latino ancestry are at 72 percent.

Brown, who is African-American, and his wife, who is white, said biracial donors have a lower percentage.

"Only seven percent African-Americans and less than that for biracial children," Brown said. "I think it's important we get the word out to parents and children of mixed [races] so we can save somebody's life."

The type of cancer Malena, 15, has is very rare in children. According to the National Cancer Institute, CML is a slowly progressing blood and bone marrow disease that occurs in adults after middle age.

So while Brown is researching the next running back or fullback the Cowboys might draft, he's also doing the work for his daughter.

"You have to research it," he said. "My wife has taken the lead on that. She brings it to me and we study it and the things we understand is what the cure is and it's a bone marrow transplant. It's hard to find a match for African-Americans and biracial (children). I think we can find one, you just have to research it and all the people going through it. You have to find the best doctors and I think we have."

Here's a video telling more about Malena's story.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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