Metro Detroit family hoping to find bone marrow match for 5-year-old boy

Only 1 in 200,000 people diagnosed with rare condition

A 40-second swab on the inside of your cheek could prevent Washington from developing leukemia. The family is desperately hoping to find a match.
A 40-second swab on the inside of your cheek could prevent Washington from developing leukemia. The family is desperately hoping to find a match.

DETROIT – Ryder Washington started kindergarten this year. The 5-year-old loves to dance, practice martial arts and is obsessed with the Statue of Liberty.

A few months ago he was diagnosed with a rare disease, which, in most cases, leads to leukemia. The child’s family is hoping someone will be able to help the boy.

The Washington family held a bone marrow blood drive Sunday in an effort to find a match to prevent the boy from developing leukemia.

“I’m surprised that I’m not crying now,” said Kimberli Washington, the boy’s mother.

Ryder Washington was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome earlier this year.

“It’s been quite a whirlwind, we’re learning more about bone marrow transplants and donor banks everyday,” his mother said.

The boy’s condition is rare: Only one in 200,000 people are diagnosed with MDS, and very few are his age. It is especially difficult for him, as Ryder is scared of needles.

The boy has to be especially careful to avoid injuries to prevent internal bleeding. But it hasn’t stopped him from dancing up a storm, and he already has a yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do.

The Washington family is desperately hoping to find a bone marrow match to prevent the disease from progressing into leukemia.

How to help

To help and see whether you are a match click here or text Racing4Ryder to 61474.


About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.