Gwinnett county teen searching for much-needed bone marrow transplant match

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Joshua Biyoyouwei is searching for match for a desperately-needed bone marrow transplant.

Vera Johnson never dreamed her son would grow up to be a symbol of a cause.

“We are privileged to be in this position to have his face out there,” said Johnson.

Biyoyouwei was born with sickle cell disease. It triggered a stroke when he was just 18 months old. For the last 12 years, he has been in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant.

“He’s so young, so much of his life to live. It’s so heartbreaking that to this point he has not found a match,” said Gwinnett County Chairperson Nicole Love Hendrickson.

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Gwinnett County is holding a drive through a “cheek swabbing event” to put more donors on the national bone marrow registry.

“Please get your mouth swabbed. Please,” said Biyoyouwei.

Biyoyouwei has become a celebrity of sorts through his outreach work, including being a guest of honor of the Atlanta Hawks during the playoffs, and for Gwinnett’s “cheek week” proclamation.

“Because it’s not just about Joshua. It’s about kids like him — everybody - for bone marrow. Joshua is the face today.  Tomorrow it could be somebody else,” said Johnson.