Frisco Students Holding Stem Cell Swab Drive for Former Student

At just 19-years-old, a Frisco ISD graduate is already in the fight of his life.

Darryl Dugenio was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia in June, the day before he graduated from Heritage High School.

Because his body can't produce new blood cells, he gets weekly transfusions to stay alive.

"We researched a whole lot for this and it said that the only cure for this is a transplant and going through chemotherapy so that was scary," he explained.

Even scarier are his chances of finding a stem cell match.

"It's especially hard because I'm a minority, I'm a Filipino American and there's not a lot of Filipino Americans that are in the registry," Dugenio said.

That's when four teens enter the picture: Piyush Rath, Sushmitha Nalluri, Abinaya Kannapiran and Neil Neil Gupta, all sophomores at Heritage High School.

Friday, they're holding a stem cell swab drive to find Dugenio's match. It's part of a class project that's become their personal mission.

"We really want to make sure he can come out of this victorious," said Nalluri.

"I truly believe we will find his match," said Kannapiran.

"It's what we've been leading up to for a while," said Rath.

They're spreading the word in any way possible. Their goal is to get people into the stem cell registry and erase misconceptions about the process if you're a match.

"It's a really simple and almost painless process," said Gupta.

"It's just like donating blood, simple as that," said Dugenio's mother Wol Dugenio.

"It's really humbling knowing these people that I didn't even know are willing to go out of their way to help out my sickness and stuff and other people too," said Darryl Dugenio.

Friday's swab drive is open to the public. It's at Heritage High School, 14040 Eldorado Pkwy, Frisco, TX 75035, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Donors must be between 18 and 44 years old.

Text "Frisco" to 61474 for more information.

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