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Searching for a Donor for Alfredo

Be the Match and a Chicago Walgreens hosted a blood stem cell donor drive in support of a pharmacy technician’s young son who is desperate for a match.

Searching for a Donor for Alfredo

Be the Match and a Chicago Walgreens hosted a blood stem cell donor drive in support of a pharmacy technician’s young son who is desperate for a match.

Published 12-06-23

Submitted by Walgreens Boots Alliance

Alfredo Diaz

Originally published by Walgreens Boots Alliance

By Elyse Russo, Walgreens Stories

Despite being a bit small for his age, Alfredo Diaz looks like any other 11-year-old boy. He is friendly, outgoing and “always has a smile on his face,” says mom and Walgreens pharmacy technician Natalia Torres. 

What people don’t see is that Alfredo lives with IL-10 Receptor Deficiency, a genetic disorder so rare that there are fewer than 100 cases in the U.S. This disease causes Alfredo’s immune system to attack his own body, so he takes immunosuppressants which cause him to get frequent infections, often requiring hospitalization.

Alfredo has an ostomy bag that needs to be changed every day, and he receives nightly IV nutrition as well as G-tube feedings through his stomach. 

His health condition requires a nurse to be at his school every day he is in attendance. So if there’s no nurse at school, Torres must keep her son home. 

Torres knows a blood stem cell transplant would transform her son’s life, so she has worked with Be the Match, a nonprofit that connects patients with stem cell donors, to find him a match. Walgreens has long supported Be the Match as a recruitment partner. Since 1999, Walgreens has recruited thousands to join the Be the Match Registry, inclduing four matches for patients in need. 

"By sharing his story through Be the Match, Alfredo has saved so many lives," Torres says. “But Alfredo hasn’t yet found a match of his own.”

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Alfredo and his mom Natalia Torres.

Walgreens supports Alfredo with Be the Match registry drive

Just one year ago, Torres started working as a pharmacy technician at Walgreens store #9000, located in the Chicago neighborhood where she lives. 

Torres had filled her son's prescriptions at that Walgreens for years, befriending Pharmacy Operations Manager Rosa Vega who eventually recruited her, empowering her to be more hands-on with Alfredo’s care through the pharmacy. Torres and her family remain close to Vega to this day. 

Torres calls her schedule at the pharmacy “a blessing.” She always starts her shift at 5 p.m., so she is available during the day to support Alfredo if he is sick or has appointments.

Just last month, the Chicago Walgreens where Torres works hosted a Be The Match registry drive in hopes of finding Alfredo a donor. Although Alfredo didn’t find a donor match that day, Torres remains determined in her search and in educating others about joining the Be the Match registry. For example, Alfredo is more likely to match with someone who shares his Mexican ancestry, but there simply aren’t enough Latino or Hispanic donors on the registry. 

“Many people in the Hispanic community aren’t aware that this is an issue,” Torres says. 

And so, the search for Alfredo’s match continues. 

"We will continue to tell his story and encourage people to join the registry,” she says. “I will do everything I can to help him." 

To learn more about joining the Be the Match registry, go to

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Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) is an integrated healthcare, pharmacy and retail leader serving millions of customers and patients every day, with a 170-year heritage of caring for communities.

A trusted, global innovator in retail pharmacy with approximately 13,000 locations across the U.S., Europe and Latin America, WBA plays a critical role in the healthcare ecosystem. The company is reimagining local healthcare and well-being for all as part of its purpose – to create more joyful lives through better health. Through dispensing medicines, improving access to a wide range of health services, providing high quality health and beauty products and offering anytime, anywhere convenience across its digital platforms, WBA is shaping the future of healthcare.

WBA employs more than 325,000 people and has a presence in nine countries through its portfolio of consumer brands: Walgreens, Boots, Duane Reade, the No7 Beauty Company, Benavides in Mexico and Ahumada in Chile. Additionally, WBA has a portfolio of healthcare-focused investments located in several countries, including China and the U.S.

The company is proud of its contributions to healthy communities, a healthy planet, an inclusive workplace and a sustainable marketplace. WBA has been recognized for its commitment to operating sustainably: the company is an index component of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) and was named to the 100 Best Corporate Citizens 2022.

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