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Cuban-American leukemia patient urgently needs bone marrow transplant

May 25, 2017 by Gift of Life News


The Gift of Life Marrow Registry family extends its heartfelt condolences to the family of Manny Valdes. After a valiant fight with acute myeloid leukemia, MannyStrong has passed away. We feel grateful to have gotten a chance to know him, his wife and soulmate Kelly, and his family as they lived close to our office.

#Mannystrong stood for more than a name of a Facebook page and campaign. It really stood for the way Manny lived — being hopeful, fighting until the end and showing us all what strong really means.

Manny was of Cuban descent, an ethnicity severely underrepresented in the worldwide marrow registry. His passing is a battle cry to raise awareness about the need for donors in the Hispanic/Latino community. Please help us spread the word to beat blood cancer by sharing this story.


Gift of Life has launched a search to help Manny Valdes, 42, find a matching marrow donor. He urgently needs a transplant to cure Acute Myeloid Leukemia, an extremely aggressive form of blood and bone marrow cancer.

A resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Manny is a husband to Kelly, father of two children, and a die-hard Miami Hurricanes fan. He was diagnosed with cancer in February and is currently receiving his second round of chemotherapy at the Mayo Clinic hospital.

Manny’s family is originally from Cuba, so his best chance of finding a matching bone marrow donor is among the Cuban, Hispanic and Latino communities.  

La familia de Manny es originaria de Cuba, por lo que su mejor oportunidad de encontrar un donante de médula ósea compatible está entre las comunidades Cubana, Hispana y Latina.  La historia de Manny en español, cortesía de El Nuevo Herald.

Manny and his wife met while he served as Chief Information Officer at The Keyes Company, one of South Florida’s largest realtors. Kelly works at Keyes’ Palm Beach Gardens office, and the company has stepped up to run multiple drives at their offices across South Florida, and is sponsoring the processing of swab kits collected.

“We’d like nothing better than for Manny’s match to come from the Keyes family, but the most important thing is that his matching donor be found as soon as possible,” said The Keyes Company Vice President Tim Pappas.


In his own words:

“In February, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The only cure is if I receive a bone marrow transplant. No match has been found for me yet and we are on a mission to find my lifesaving match as soon as possible. I am currently on my second round of chemo and I am feeling strong and positive. Becoming a donor is much easier than most people think.”   — Manny

Manny is exactly right! Eighty percent of today’s transplants use blood stem cells, collected in a process like donating platelets. Joining the registry  is easy, too, all it takes is a simple swipe inside your cheek with four cotton swabs. Your swabs will be tested at a lab to identify your matching factors, then if you’re compatible with Manny – or another patient in need of a transplant – you’ll get that miracle call from us: “You have the chance to save a life!” Order your swab kit now – click here.

Please call 561-982-2900 or en Español 561-982-2927 to learn more about becoming a donor or holding a donor registration drive.


Stay Informed!

Visite nuestro sitio web en español:   

Follow Manny’s Donor Circle,

For up to date news about recruitment drives for Manny, join our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.  

Regalo de Vida Facebook: @regalodevidamarrowregistry

Regalo de Vida Twitter:  @elregalodevida

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