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Bone marrow drive held for Va. 9-year-old

Saturday - 2/11/2012, 2:50pm  ET

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Xavier Williams, right, poses with his mom, Tiffany at the bone marrow drive held at Pattie Elementary School in Dumfries, Va. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

DUMFRIES, Va. - A bone marrow drive was held Saturday for a local 9-year-old boy who wants the chance to grow up and lead an ordinary life.

Xavier Williams was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia at birth, and his only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Because of his abnormally shaped red blood cells, he has episodes of extreme pain when the cells get caught in his organs.

In his short life, he's already been hospitalized 40 times.

"They had him on a monthly blood transfusion program when he was a 1-year-old," says his mother, Tiffany Williams.

Xavier remains hopeful that they'll find a match, even though this is the second bone marrow drive held for him.

The best match for a patient is someone of the same race or ethnic background.

"That's why I'm here this morning," says Robert Lakin, who signed up to be a donor. "Hopefully for him, but if not -- maybe someone else," says Lakin.

By getting more African Americans on the national bone marrow donor registry there is more of a possibility of a match for Xavier and others in need.

The experts say that 70 percent of sickle-cell patients who get a bone marrow transplant go on to live healthy lives, and the younger and the healthier they are when they get a transplant the better the outcome.

Find out more information about the Be The Match marrow registry here. More information about helping Xavier can be found here.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)