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Boynton Beach teenager fighting for her life, in need of bone marrow match

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Posted at 12:50 PM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-28 16:52:18-04

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — After this story aired on NewsChannel 5, 70 people joined the bone-marrow registry, according to Be The Match. That number is well above the norm.

A Boynton Beach teenager and star dancer, Madison Hollingshed, is in desperate need of a bone marrow match.

Madison was born to dance, but now watches her teammates off stage.

"It helps me feel free," Madison said.

"I thought she was just amazing," said Rachel Robinson, Madison's friend. "I thought, there is no way I'm getting in with this girl in the audition. She was just so good. Amazing. Just really inspirational."

At That's Dancing Studio in Lake Worth Beach, Madison's fellow dancers are rooting for her and holding numerous drives to try to get people to join the registry, Be The Match.

"We are rooting for Madison," her instructor said to the group as they held hands in a circle. She also reminded the group they were stronger together than as individuals.

"It's a roller coaster," said her mother, Kristy Ferrer.

Ferrer said her daughter is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant and a match. They've had difficulty finding a match that will come through.

"Her bone marrow is not producing white blood cells, which are responsible for your immune system," said Ferrer. "She's not producing red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout her body, and she's not producing platelets, which help the blood clot."

Madison went to dance class on a rare occasion when WPTV was with her.

"I miss the competitions and especially being around all my friends," said Madison.

"This hits you like a ton of bricks," said Ferrer.

Madison's family, who lives in Boynton Beach, has seen tragedy before.

"What's made this even more of a struggle for us is that a year and a half ago, we lost our 8-month-old baby to congenital heart disease," said Ferrer. "You lie awake at night wanting to be hopeful but still remembering that you have lost a child when you were hopeful."

Ferrer said she feels like her son, who passed away, is watching over Madison now.

"There is a bigger purpose, a message that we are having to go through this, and she's got a huge story to tell," said Ferrer.

That story includes the difficulty to find a bone marrow match.

"A mixed-race patient like Madison has (about a) 15 percent chance of match because we are very underrepresented in the registry," said Carlos Wesley, with Be The Match.

Madison's friends in her dance class said they are giving her all the love they can.

"We just want to be a normal family at the football field, at dance competitions," Ferrer said. "She's got to fight really, really hard."

As Madison sat on the side watching, wearing a pink surgical mask to protect her from germs, she's staying positive.

"That at the end I will be better, and I'll be able to get back to my life, even if it's going to be hard," said Madison.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE REGISTRY

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO JOIN THE REGISTRY: