Discovery Bay cancer family in SOS to Filipinos

Father of three extends desperate search to find bone marrow match

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2012, 4:41am

A Discovery Bay family is appealing for help from the city's Filipino community in its search for a bone marrow match to save a father of three.

Rocky Perez, originally from the Philippines, is suffering from lymphoma and is awaiting a bone marrow transplant.

The family has been looking for a match in international registers for nearly a year, with no luck.

A match is more likely in people of the same ethnic background, but the Philippines does not have a bone marrow registry, making the search more difficult.

The South China Morning Post reported Perez's story in March.

He was first wrongly diagnosed with thymoma and had one of his lungs and part of his vocal cord removed. It was later found that he in fact has lymphoma, and removing the organ was unnecessary.

His wife, Debra Jones, said Perez had been in remission since May but some small lumps were detected in his neck three weeks ago. Cancer cells were subsequently found in his bone marrow. Perez is now receiving chemotherapy at Queen Mary Hospital.

A bone marrow transplant offers a 40 per cent chance of clearing the cancer, but without it Perez has only a 5 per cent chance of surviving past the next two years.

The Discovery Bay family distributes flyers on Sundays and has set up a Facebook campaign endorsed by Filipino celebrities. More than 135,000 Filipinos live in Hong Kong.

"We are starting a campaign to get as many Filipinos as we can on the registry here in Hong Kong. We have exhausted all the registers worldwide," Jones, a music teacher, said.

She said their three children missed their father since he went back to hospital.

"They have really enjoyed having their father around over the summer and are naturally disappointed that he has had to go back into the hospital," she said.