Watch CBS News

Community rallies for Frisco pediatrician who's helped many, including me

How a cheek swab could help a pediatrician's fight against leukemia
How a cheek swab could help a pediatrician's fight against leukemia 02:16

A Commentary by CBS News reporter Andrea Lucia

PLANO ( - The day I became a mom, Dr. Danny Kim was there.

Dr. Kim shown here changing a newborn's diaper.  Andrea Lucia 

He was the first person to change my son's diaper, a moment I, for some reason, chose to preserve with a flurry of pictures taken from my hospital bed.

Dr. Kim has been our family pediatrician ever since, through the tears, the smiles, and the occasional illness.

That is, at least, until recently.

"It is with heavy heart that I have to share some difficult news," began the letter we received in September. "I was diagnosed with leukemia and I will need to take time off."

Weeks later, Cook Children's Health announced Dr Kim, who practices out of a Frisco office, was in urgent need of a stem cell transplant. 

It's now organized events at the Fort Worth campus, to help register potential donors.
All it really takes is a cheek swab.

"It took about 5 seconds. It was super, super easy," said Noelle Petri, a nurse practitioner and one of the first to arrive.

Like Dr. Kim, she's Korean, making her a more likely match.

"With his heritage, his Korean heritage, it's difficult to find a match for him to get a bone marrow transplant," said Dr Matthew Dzurik, president of the Cook Children's Physician Network.

If someone is a suitable candidate, the donation process is a relatively quick one.

"Initial steps are you would donate some blood," said Dzurik. "Depending on how (Dr Kim's) therapy goes, there would be the potential that you would donate bone marrow. That's a procedure where typically they would draw from the hip bone."

Petri says, it's minimally invasive.

"If you get a chance to be able to help someone this way, it's very, very meaningful. And, this is a physician who's here treating children who are ill. If we can't help him to get better, how can he possibly help any of the children in the community?"

In his letter to patients' families, Dr Kim wrote, "Caring for your children and watching them grow… has been one of my greatest joys."

We're hoping he'll be back at it soon.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.