INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. -- An Indian Trail woman is trying to help other families avoid the heartbreak her family has faced.
She lost her dad while he was waiting for a bone marrow match.
NBC Charlotte is excited to help get the word out about this important cause, and we're teaming up with the Be the Match organization to do so.
There's something about the sound of a three year old giggling.
“It makes my day,” Mom Paige Layman says of her three year old, Mallory.
It's those little moments.
“Those genuine moments -- those are what it’s all about,” she says.
It's those moments Paige really wishes her dad was around to see.
“It’s just a ‘Gosh, I wish he was here to see my kids, my life.’”
Bob Johnson, a Navy Vietnam veteran, an engineer and all around fix-it man for Paige and her sisters growing up, lost his battle with leukemia in 2005.
“I was a daddy’s girl. He was my biggest fan and I thought the world of him. [There are] pieces of my life where I want to run back to dad and I can’t.”
When he was first diagnosed, doctors told the family a bone marrow transplant was his best chance.
“We tested all the family members. We went to the registry and we couldn't find a match.”
The family waited for two years hoping to find a match, but never did.
Bob Johnson died holding his wife's hand.
Paige's youngest, 1-year-old Paxton, shares a birthday with the grandfather he never met.
But Paige is making sure her three kids will still get to know their grandpa, often showing them pictures and telling them stories.
She is also trying to make sure other families never know her pain.
She runs the Be The Match 5K, a run that helps get more people to join the national bone marrow registry every year.
“I would love for everyone to be able to find a match when they need one, so they have another option and had we had that option. He could be here today.”
Paige and her family will be running this weekend in the Be the Match 5K, which NBC Charlotte is a part of.
If you'd like details, click here.