Leukemia patient hopes to inspire potential bone marrow donors

SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane man diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia hopes his journey will inspire others to help those in need.

In August, 36-year-old Leland Johnson was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. At first, the disease disguised itself as a backache. The pain got so bad Johnson went to the emergency room where and MRI and blood test revealed he had cancer.

"The world stopped at that moment," said Leland's wife Bekah Johnson.

Leukemia patient hopes to inspire potential bone marrow donors

"He was 90 percent filled with the leukemia in his bone marrow. They had to act real fast," she said.

Withing 24 hours of being diagnosed, Johnson started chemotherapy. During his first round, Johnson was in the hospital for more than a month. At one point, his immune system was so fragile, he could only see his 2-year-old daughter through Skype.

To beat the deadly disease, Johnson will need a bone marrow transplant. To find a bone marrow match, doctors have turned to the National Marrow Donor Program. Out of thousands of people on the registry, there are 30 potential matches.

"Of those 30, they will all be scanned and typed to see if they match," said Bekah. "The must have nine out of 10 (certain factors) or 10 out of 10 to be a candidate," she added.

While it may be too late to be a match for Johnson, doctors hope for a transplant by January. Bekah hopes you will volunteer to be a donor.

"I fell like if we learned anything is that someone laid the groundwork for us. God put all of these pieces together and we are so fortunate to be at this point and time," she said.

As they wait for a match, the Johnson's pray and appreciate the simple things in life.

"We fall back on faith," she said.

"Prayer is a big thing to get me through," said Leland.

For more information on become a bone marrow donor click here.

Follow Leland's journey here.