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Bone marrow drive launched for Barona Resort & Casino employee

Man fell sick after his wedding in the Philippines
Bone marrow drive launched for Barona Resort & Casino employee
Posted at 4:22 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 20:35:29-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - With the clock ticking, friends of a Barona Resort & Casino employee have launched a bone marrow drive to save his life.

John Robinson, 51, met Lalyn Balina on vacation in the Philippines in 2016 and fell in love. They had a child, a daughter. In April of this year, the two married in the Philippines.

“I knew I was that much closer to having family her with me … a total dream come true,” said Robinson.

Days after the wedding, Robinson came down with flu-like symptoms.

“All my blood counts were super low, so low I couldn't fly back home,” said Robinson.

His immune system weakened, Robinson needed six blood transfusions in a two-week span, before he was allowed to fly back home.

In San Diego, he was diagnosed with a bone marrow disorder, which advanced into leukemia in mid-June.

Recently, he finished his first round of chemotherapy. To survive, he'll need a bone marrow transplant.

“I have one family member, but I don’t know where she is. It’s going to have to be somebody in the public,” said Robinson.

So far, there are no perfect matches in the global bone marrow registry.

"I will need to find a match within a year, or I'm in trouble,” said Robinson.

A day ago, an online bone marrow drive was started by a former co-worker. Robinson is a valet captain at Barona Resort & Casino, where he's worked for 14 years.

“Words can't express what everybody has done for me,” said Robinson.

Already some 50 people signed up to be tested for the bone marrow registry, including 29 in the past day. Robinson calls the support from friends and co-workers, amazing.

“Texts, phone calls checking up on me. I had visitor today, a visitor yesterday. The love is unbelievable,” said Robinson.

Robinson says if his spousal visa is approved quickly, his wife and daughter could be in San Diego in about six months.

As for the bone marrow drive, they're asking for healthy people between the ages of 18 and 44 to join the registry.