Philadelphia boxer helping 8-year-old boy find bone marrow donor through Be the Match

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Friday, February 17, 2023
Philly boxer helping 8-year-old boy find bone marrow donor
8-year-old Jax Ramirez is waiting for a life-saving bone marrow transplant through Be the Match and he's getting help from a well-known Philadelphia boxing champion.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's been nearly ten years since Good Morning America's Robin Roberts returned to the air after recovering from a successful bone marrow transplant.

We are celebrating by raising awareness of the need for bone marrow donors to register.

It's called "One Match, Second Chance." The goal is to find matches for patients currently waiting for a much-needed donation.

Eight-year-old Jax Ramirez is one of those patients and he's getting help from a well-known Philadelphia boxing champion.

Jax is a huge fan of Philly boxer Jaron "Boots" Ennis.

"He's a fighter like me," said Jax.

In October of 2021, Jax was diagnosed with IPEX syndrome, a rare immunological disorder.

"One in 1.6 million people have it, and it's going to take his life," said Jax's mom, Missy Ramirez. "The only known cure is a bone marrow transplant. And because Jax is diverse, he is less likely than others to find a match."

SEE ALSO: Robin Roberts marks 10 years since lifesaving bone marrow transplant: How to become a donor

To help her son get the donation he needs, Missy started the foundation "Be The Match for Jax." When Boots heard his story, he joined the fight.

"I'm just trying to help them and let them know that he has a friend here to help," said Boots. "I'm here fighting with him. He's my little fighter."

You can also join their fight. Submitting a sample to the Be The Match registry is easy and quick.

"It only takes 10 seconds," said Erica Sevilla, the Public Relations Manager for Be The Match. "You're going to swab the inside of each cheek, and that's all. Then, you wait to win the lottery of life. We say it's the world's greatest waiting list."

If you do get the call, Be The Match says donating bone marrow is not as daunting as it sounds.

"It's similar to a plasma or a platelet donation," said Sevilla.

Until Jax finds his match, he has to protect his immune system. He attends school, plays with friends, and hangs out with Boots virtually.

"Your little stem cells would give him a lifetime," said Missy.

For now, the family will continue to wait, hope and fight.

"We are both fighters," said Boots. "That's what we have in common. We are determined and have a good mindset. We always find a way to win. He's going to find a way to win."

Boots says he can't wait to hang out with Jax in person.

They have a pizza party planned for the day he finally gets the bone marrow transplant that will change, and save, his life.

Tune in to 6abc on Tuesday, February 21st. We will be live on air all morning at Villanova University for their donor registration drive in partnership with Be the Match and our friends at GMA.

We're hoping to find a match for Jax, and countless others, who need our help.

You can also CLICK HERE to request a swab kit online. Ideal donors are between 18 and 40 years old.