Colonial Heights, VA—More than 400 people attended a bone marrow donor drive to help a little boy battling a rare blood disorder. Ryan Bell's family confirms that he will need to have a bone marrow transplant…but they say they haven't given up hope of a full recovery for Ryan.
"They informed us about a month ago, they felt his treatment isn't working," Ryan's father Paul Bell told 8News. The next step for their 10-year-old son is a bone marrow transplant. They are preparing for the surgery, and Ryan realizes the process may not be easy.
"My pediatrician, she's a friend of mine, and I watched a video, some kids do lose their hair and get weak. And I bet it's hard for them," says Ryan.
Ryan will need to spend up to six weeks at the Children's Hospital of Richmond for the surgery. After it is completed, he will have to come back two or three times per week for several months.
Ryan and his family are drawing inspiration from a star whose health struggles have been in headline for months.
"I think Robin Roberts has brought a lot of attention to the need to become a donor, to be put in the registry."
An anonymous donor's marrow matched the type that Ryan needs, and on Friday Ryan will take the first step to prepare for his surgery.
The Bells say they think everyone should consider becoming a donor, and Ryan has a special message for the person who is literally helping to save his life:
"I would say thank you very much for giving me the things that I need, and providing me the platelets and the blood that I need to help me get through this."
Stay with 8News for updates about Ryan's condition.
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