Finding a donor: Local community comes together for 'Be The Match'

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) For the past eight years, Lizzie Tennyson has been in the battle of her life. On Saturday, the Central Texas community came together for a good cause: a goal of finding a donor not only for the 21-year-old but others in need.

Lizzie Tennyson, 21, is hoping to find a transplant donor.

Tennyson was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 13. It was a day she won’t forget.

“It stopped my world. It was completely shocking because cancer is the last thing anyone in their worst nightmare could dream of happening to them,” she said.

It was a nightmare that would repeat itself. After beating the initial cancer diagnosis – another blow – the cancer was back.

A battle she now faces for the fifth time.

“There’s definitely the good days and the bad days but through it all I have to remember there is some kind of plan out there for me. Whatever it is I don’t know, but I’m wanting to find out what it is,” Tennyson said.

On Saturday at Ashley Home Furniture in Killeen, “Be The Match” was held. The hope was to find a transplant match.

According to "Be The Match," African Americans have a 23 percent chance of finding a match. For Tennyson, who is bi-racial, the percent is lower. She has had a hard time finding a match with the number of minorities donating often low.

She says her doctor believes a bone marrow transplant is needed.

“Even people that couldn’t get on the registry because they didn’t meet the qualification still came to say we are praying for you and support you,” she said.

She’s received support from all over, including from Rosa Torres. She had her cheek swabbed to see if she was a possible transplant match for Tennyson.

“We lack empathy nowadays and just to show that love that it could be me, it could be one of us. This could me, it could be my child. As a parent, I would do anything,” Torres said.

Also showing up to support was Harker Heights High School coach Kye Robertson. He knows all too well the importance of “Be the Match.” At the age of 29, he was diagnosed with leukemia. He was able to find a transplant and is now cancer-free.

“It’s proof I wouldn’t be here without “Be The Match.” With my story, there was no other around other than having a stem cell transplant. To find a match is very important, that’s the only way I’m able to still be here and do what I do,” Robertson said.

To those who are fighting the battle, Tennyson says even on the darkest days to always push forward.

“Even when things seem their darkest and when things seem like there is no hope, you can’t give up. In my experience, even in the darkest moments there is still a way to find hope,” she added.

To learn more about “Be the Match” click on the link posted on this page.