(WMC-TV) - Most children as young as Hadley Mercer do not face the fight she endures every day.
Acute myeloid leukemia has the 8-month-old hooked up to wires and tubes at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Finding the right bone marrow donor proves to be as rare as her blood cancer, which is why a Memphis congregation will come together to help Hadley.
"She's just a good baby. Even through all this, she's such a fighter. We call her our little fighter," said the mother, Ashlie Mercer.
Hadley's mother, father, and sisters began calling Kosair their home in December. At first, doctors thought Hadley suffered from an infection, possibly meningitis. A pathologist said that the cells in her spinal fluid were not something seen with an infection; they were something seen with cancer.
"She stopped smiling. She wouldn't eat. She got to the point where she couldn't hold her head up at all," said Ashlie.
Diagnosed with the leukemia, Hadley started chemotherapy. Ashlie said it gave her daughter mouth sores and fever.
Hadley needs a bone marrow transplant to replace abnormal cells. Her older sisters discovered they are a perfect match for each other but not for Hadley.
"She does have a rarer type, but that doesn't mean that there's nobody else that's a match. That just means we need to look for a much larger pool of people to find someone that is a match," said pediatric oncologist Jennifer Elster.
With the help of Team Be The Match, Hope Church in Cordova—along with friends, family and complete strangers—hopes an event held Sunday will find a bone marrow donor match for Hadley.
The local effort follows hundreds of test taken by people across to see if they match.
A bone marrow drive was held at Hope Church on Saturday, February 15 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Even if you missed Hope Church's donor event, you can still be tested to see if you are a match for Hadley, or any other people in need of bone marrow, by visiting http://www.bethematch.org.
For more information on becoming a match for Hadley, click here.
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