Damien Bray Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa is making a difference for kids needing bone marrow transplants.
The Aquaman star made quite the appearance at a bone marrow registry drive at Brigham Young University-Hawaii, rolling up on a motorcycle to crowds cheering.
Momoa, 43, visited the campus on Thursday to help raise awareness for bone marrow registries and to meet some of the young kids needing transplants. Be The Match hosted the event and invited Momoa to meet some of the patients.
Related video: Jason Momoa calls for donors to the "Be The Match" registry
Six-year-old Rhyder Lopez — and his 9-year-old brother named Rhaiden — got to meet the action star and tell him their stories. They both had the same rare but potentially fatal genetic disease: Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).
Rhaiden had a matching donor seven years ago and is cured, but Rhyder doesn't have a matching donor yet.
Damien Bray Jason Momoa
RELATED: Jason Momoa Calls for Donors to the 'Be The Match Registry' Inspired by Friend's Cancer
While Rhyder's treatments keep him relatively healthy, they include seven medications taken twice a day and regular infusions through a port in his chest. A bone marrow transplant from a matching donor could cure Rhyder just like his brother.
In a video of the event shared by Momoa on Instagram, the actor gave a passionate speech, even getting emotional. "I love you all for coming!" he shouted into the microphone with a big smile.
"I get emotional when I think about it. If it's my kids or your kids… it doesn't take much. You just got to swab a cheek, and you can save some lives," he said. "From the bottom of my heart, thank you for coming. I love you, Aloha!"
Momoa also shared a video from the event on his Instagram, showing his memorable arrival, meeting patients like Rhyder, and highlighting performances by choral and dance performers.
Alongside the video, the Dune actor wrote, "Mahalo Nui to @byuhawaii for hosting @bethematch it was amazing meeting everyone in Laie yesterday, mahalo to everyone who came to get swabed. Hopefully one step closer to finding a match for Rhyder Lopez & @thetravissnyder , please!"
Momoa added, "Go to link in bio and my story to learn more on how you could help be a super hero and save lives. Join the registry ! Please do your part and make a difference and help! Aloha j."
Momoa became aware of the Be The Match organization from his friend Travis Snyder, who is battling leukemia for the third time. After learning more about it from Snyder, Momoa wanted to help encourage others to join the registry.
When Momoa met Snyder, founder of The Color Run, in Hawaii six years ago, he didn't know much about cancer. With Snyder in need of a blood stem cell transplant, Momoa and Snyder spoke to PEOPLE in May in hopes of getting more potential donors for the Be The Match Registry.
"We met through happenstance and mutual friends after my first cancer battle in 2015," Snyder, 44, told PEOPLE of meeting the Game of Thrones actor. "I think in the aftermath of treatment I was very focused on living every day with purpose and my heart was open and Jason wasn't quite as busy then and he lives with such a big giving heart and Aloha, we just connected instantly."
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Snyder, a California resident, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2015. It's a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes a large number of abnormal blood cells — the most common type of acute leukemia in adults — according to the National Cancer Institute.
Matching to be a blood stem cell or marrow donor is more complicated than blood type. Ethnicity matters in finding a match – and Asian and Pacific Islanders only have 47 percent chance of finding odds compared to a 79 percent chance for a white patient – so more diversity is needed to help more patients find life-saving matches.
To learn more, visit BeTheMatch.org/ForTravis.
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