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Drive for Dak: How the high school sports community rallied trying to find a perfect bone marrow match


EL PASO, Texas — Dak Lopez was diagnosed with leukemia in April. Right now he’s in remission but he’ll be in hospital for the next month or so undergoing a second round of chemotherapy. Then the next step will be getting a bone marrow transplant for the four-year-old.

“It’s the biggest thing that needs to go our way,” Dak’s dad Adam Lopez said. “A bone marrow transplant is his only cure, it’s the only possible way he will ever be fully cured.”

The issue is they can’t find a perfect match. Heritage matters when it comes to finding a match, but only 2 percent of the current donor pool is hispanic.

“I’m hoping to build that pool for not only Dak but for others that are in need from the hispanic population,” Dak’s aunty Yvonne Lopez said.

To try and ‘build that pool’ Yvonne, with the sponsorship of the El Paso Sports Commission and volunteers from El Paso high schools put on ‘Drive for Dak’. More than 170 people were added to the pool. A large percentage of them coming from the high school sports community.

“We’re in the business of kids and in our profession it’s a very close profession a type of fraternity if you will,” Ruben Torres III a former coach at Yselta, El Dorado and Franklin said. “Especially when one of our owns kids are going through the hard time, coaches are going to rally for that.” 

“Even though we compete against each other it’s still kind of like a brotherhood and we all see each other and different things and we’re just trying to help where we can,” Oscar L Gonzalez football coach at Riverside said.

Adam played football for the Riverside Rangers, he then started his coaching career there before moving to Pebble Hills and eventually taking his coaching skills to Highland Park in Dallas.

“I’m blown away, i’m almost speechless,” Adam said. “There’s a bunch of great coaches in El Paso but there’s even better people and I’m just so thankful and grateful for everybody that went out because it does mean the world to us and again it is our only hope of saving Dak.”

If you missed the drive, it’s not too late to still get in the pool, all you have to do is signup and you will get an at home kit.

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