Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:54:16 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An eight-month-old cancer patient is fighting for her life, and a community is rallying behind her.
Hadley Mercer was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia when she was six-months-old. She is now at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville undergoing her second round of chemotherapy.
Thousands walked through the door of Holy Trinity in Louisville Sunday to offer a cheek swap and see if they were a match.
"It just really goes to show you that people here in Louisville rally when someone needs help," said Hadley's mother Ashlie Mercer.
Ashlie and her husband Brad brought Hadley to the doctor two months ago when they noticed she stopped eating, and could no longer sit up on her own. They originally thought she had a virus--maybe meningitis--but after a number of tests, they got horrifying news.
"What does that mean? You say Leukemia and all you know is it's terminal and it's cancer and your baby is six months old," said Ashlie.
Hadley's doctors hope to wipe her system of the cancer through chemotherapy treatments, and perform a bone marrow transplant.
After doing a search on a nationwide donor database, they found only five matches for Hadley. This prompted friends of the Mercers to organize Sunday's bone marrow drive.
So many people attended the drive, hosted by the Be the Match Foundation, that they ran out of test kits in less than three hours.
With organizers estimating around 2,500 people at Sunday's event, Be the Match says this was the largest bone marrow donor drive in Kentucky history.
"Friends of friends of friends are here, and I looked around the room at several points today and I didn't know 75 percent of the people here and that is a success to me," said Brad Mercer.
Hadley's parents are confident they will find a match in the large pool of potential donors, but even if they don't, they see this as an opportunity for awareness and to help other blood cancer patients.
"It may not help Hadley today, but it may help a kid in Idaho in two years, or a girl in France in five years," said Brad. "The more we can do to get awareness out there and people out there it is good for everyone."
If you would like to get a home test kit, visit www.bethematch.org and use the promo code HADLEYKY at check out.