Kevin and Lateefah's Story
In 2012, life was good for Kevin Weston and Lateefah Simon. Deeply in love, the young couple was raising their beautiful daughters Lelah, 1 and Aminah, 16. Kevin, a long time Bay Area journalist, Kevin had just been admitted to the prestigious John S. Knight journalism fellowship at Stanford University. Lateefah, a nationally recognized civil rights leader, had started a job as a Program Director at the Rosenberg Foundation and in the spring was to start the SEERS Fellowship program for social entrepreneurs at Stanford University.
Then, in an instant, everything changed. Now, Kevin and Lateefah urgently need your help.
On August 27, 2012, three days before his 44th birthday, Kevin woke up with a sore throat.
At Lateefah's insistence, he went to Kaiser Hospital in Santa Clara. He was admitted into the ICU, and diagnosed with a deadly flesh eating bacteria – and a rare form of leukemia. Known as T-cell Prolymphocytic Leukemia (T-PLL), the cancer is very rare and aggressive, with only 10 cases per year in the United States. It primarily affects adults over the age of 30.
Doctors told Lateefah that she should gather his loved ones to see him. It might be their last chance to do so, they said. People came in droves from far and wide, organized fundraisers and food deliveries, shared their grief on social media, held prayer circles, stood vigil outside the ICU and hoped for a miracle.
On August 28th, Kevin underwent the first of 5 emergency surgeries to clear the life-threatening bacterial infection.
On Saturday, September 1st, Kevin opened his eyes and told Lateefah that he was ready to get married. And so they did, surrounded by more than 30 friends and family members crowded around his bedside. In photos of that day, Kevin is in a white hospital gown, eyes closed. His face is swollen from the surgeries and raging infection; there are tubes and monitors attached everywhere. "For better or for worse, in sickness and health", Lateefah vowed. Too weak to speak, Kevin could barely nod his head but he squeezed Lateefah's hand.
And then - a miracle occurred - Kevin continued to recover. On September 24th, almost a month after first going to the hospital with a sore throat, Kevin walked out of the hospital with Lateefah, Lelah and Aminah by his side.
But Kevin and Lateefah's story is not over. Today, Kevin continues to undergo chemotherapy and has endured multiple hospitalizations. In order to truly have a chance at life and living, he needs to find a bone marrow donor by the end of February of this year.
Unfortunately, right now, the odds of Kevin finding a match are slim. Only about 7 or 8% of the nation's 10 million registered potential bone-marrow donors are black. Help save Lelah's Daddy. Help Kevin and Lateefah change the odds for their family by helping to increase the number of African Americans registered to be bone marrow donors.
Join Be the Match bone marrow registry today. It takes just a few minutes to do the pre-screening and order a kit to mailed directly to you, and you can be the one to save a life.