BOCA RATON, Fla. — A South Florida father is turning the loss of his son into helping others.
19-year-old Nicholas McClary died last November after a three-year battle with leukemia. During those three years, McClary waited for a match for a bone marrow transplant.
"He was one of the most caring individuals I ever met in my life," said Andrew McClary, Nicholas’ father.
Andrew started the organization, Caring Like Nicholas, in his son’s honor. The mission is to bring awareness to bone marrow donations.
"They had high hopes he had made it, and it wasn’t meant to be and it was because he didn't have a perfect match," said Andrew McClary. "If he had a perfect match, he would probably be here today."
Nicholas’s match never came, but his father said there are thousands of other children who are still waiting for their match. McClary is helping spread that message through the 501st Legion , a group of Star Wars cosplayers who will go to local hospitals and visit children.
With the memory of Nicholas, McClary found a way to visit dozens of children at the same hospital Nicholas had treatments in.
"He lost his life when it was really starting, and if we can do something to honor him and what he was about, then that is what we are going to do," said McClary.
“"Patients who are battling diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, other types of genetic disorders all can be saved with bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants if a match can be found," said Marti Freund with Gift of Life Marrow Registry.
The Boca Raton company said they need people from all different races to sign up and donate bone marrow to help improve the odds for people who are multi-racial.
Freund said they will soon be able to take donations at their Boca Raton office.
For more information about Gift of Life, click here.
For more information about Caring Like Nicholas, click here.