“I want to race dirt bikes, I want to do some other things too but I don’t know what they’re called.”
Vonn Chorneyko has some big dreams. The eight-year-old boy is a daredevil in the making, gleefully showing off his dirt bike, his skis, even the skateboard he made when he met Santa Claus.
“I like riding bikes with my friends, making jumps, going up jumps,” he said.
Normally shy, Vonn was quick to recount his adventures on two wheels, and on two skis.
“One time I went up the jump super-fast! I landed, kind of went down and lost control a little bit, but I got back up with control and went down the hill.”
At a glance, he’s an average boy – albeit a daredevil in the making – under the surface something more threatening lurks.
Vonn is one of just 30 people in Canada with Fanconi Anemia, and the only one in the province. It’s an incurable disease that affects the bone marrow and leaves his blood cell counts dangerously low; meaning even the most common viruses, could be fatal.
According to specialists, the only way to improve his blood cell counts is through a bone marrow transplant.
“We got his diagnosis two years ago and we asked if they would look and see what we had for options for matches his doctors just said ‘no, no, we’re not going to. There will be one and we’re not concerned at all’,” Vonn’s mother Ashley Chorneyko explained.
But there wasn’t; of the millions of registered donors across the globe, none were a match.
Now the community is rallying around him.
Craig Adam, a local realtor, created a video asking for help. It’s already been seen over 41,000 times.
“My heart is just so full,” Ashley beamed. “Every day I come home and tell my husband I’m just overwhelmed with joy”
That’s 41,000 more people who know Vonn’s name, who have heard his story, who could potentially save his life.
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A perfect match would dramatically improve the success rate of the surgery. According to the Canadian Blood Services, a non-perfect match could be rejected by the body. It’s an incredibly painful process that would lead to Vonn’s remaining blood cells attacking his own internal organs.
The family is organizing their third bone marrow drive to find a perfect match this Saturday, and Vonn has a lofty goal for the event.
The drive is from 10 am to 10 pm Saturday in Sillinger’s Corner at the Co-operators Centre.
You have to be between the ages of 17 and 35 to donate.