Jason Momoa is helping his friend Travis Snyder find a bone marrow donor to save his life.
For seven years, Snyder, a father of three, has been battling acute myeloid leukemia, “a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal blood cells,” according to the National Cancer Institute. He was diagnosed in 2015; shortly after, he met the “Aquaman” actor in Hawaii.
Earlier this month, Momoa shared Snyder’s story and urged people to register on Be The Match‘s bone marrow registry and potentially be bone marrow donors. The registration process simply involves swabbing the inside of one’s cheek with a Q-tip-like item.
“He’s a friend that’s always been there for me,” Snyder said of the actor during an interview with “Good Morning America”. “When I mentioned the registry thing, he was kind of mad at me, and was like, ‘What? Why haven’t you told me this before?’
“Once he realized the awareness issue, he’s jumped in with both feet. I really love him and appreciate the support and awareness.”
Following his diagnosis with acute myeloid leukemia, “a type of cancer that worsens quickly if not treated,” Snyder underwent chemotherapy because doctors were unable to find a perfect bone marrow match in the registry.
Snyder, 44, then went into remission for three years until his cancer returned in 2018. He received a bone marrow transplant from his brother, who was a half-match.. He was in remission for a second time but, in March, the cancer returned.
Snyder’s experience has inspired him to advocate for change to raise awareness of the need for donors, particularly focusing on broadening the diversity of the bone marrow registries since some groups, like Pacific Islanders and Hawaiians, are “really underrepresented in all the registries” making “the odds of finding a match really low.”
“This continued cycle of being sick and going through all the treatment and getting well for long enough that I get my life going again, and then coming back and going to the registry and nothing is there, I feel very passionate,” Snyder said of his dedication to expanding the bone marrow registries. “Obviously on behalf of myself but the many, many people who don’t have a match in the database.”
While Snyder patiently awaits his own donor, he still views it as a “beautiful thing” knowing that someone in the world could be the one to save his life.