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Family of 2-year-old boy with rare disease seeking bone marrow match

Saturday is World Marrow Donor Day 2023. Right now, Be The Match, which runs a national donor database says there's an urgent need for registrants.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tonight, one local family is looking for a bone marrow match for their 2-year-old son. 

Connor Ratliff is battling a rare disease and has to live his life in "a bubble," away from dangerous bacteria and fungi.  

The disease is "chronic granulomatous disease," better known as CGD. 

Connor's father Collin Ratliff explained, "Basically his white blood cells are working extremely hard to fight off infection, fungus." 

It's a life-threatening disease that has torn his mother, Jamie Magers' family apart once already. 

"I had a son that passed away from this in '99," Magers said. His name was Stevie, and he was about Connor's age when he passed. Stevie went undiagnosed until after his death. "For two and a half years. we were in and out of the hospital," she said. 

Now, to keep Connor safe, his watchful parents monitor everything he touches and keep him on taxing medications. 

"He's tired a lot. He likes to lounge around a lot," Magers said. 

The couple dreams of a day Connor is cured, and the person who could make that possible could be you.

"The 100% would be the bone marrow match," Magers said. 

According to Be The Match, a non-profit that operates a national marrow registry, right now there's an urgent need for marrow donors ages 18-40. Registration requires a simple health form and swab test. 

A match for Connor would change more than one life. 

"We can't take him to the park, and play outside normally. Most parents get to see their kids do regular things," Ratliff said. "There's stuff that if we don't find a match, we will never see him do." 

Magers said, "Just to see him go outside of play and be at school and make friends, that's what everybody wants, you know." 

According to Be the Match, there are more than nine million potential donors in the United States.

Unfortunately, none of them are a 100% match for young Connor. 

To learn more about becoming a bone marrow donor, visit BeTheMatch.org

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